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Financial professionals are cautiously optimistic about the economy

2 min read

Modern Money

A new survey of 841 financial professionals by SmartBrief and the international polling and market research firm Ipsos has found that most (67%) think that stock prices will rise in the next 12 months and the country’s economic output will increase (65%), and 59% said they expect unemployment to decrease slightly in the next 12 months.

The new SmartBrief/Ipsos Leadership Index found, however, that even such modest optimism among financial professionals is tempered by expectations of rising health care costs (88%); higher fuel prices (85%); rising prices for durable goods such as appliances, automobiles and consumer electronics (72%); and slightly higher interest rates (59%).

Overall, 44% of the respondents said they “think that things in this country heading in the right direction,” compared to 31% of Americans at large, and 56% said they are “going in the wrong direction.”

“Financial professionals are cautiously optimistic about economic prospects in the near term; indeed, they think that the overall scenario will improve, and they’re making business decisions on that basis, such as increased investment and hiring,” said Ipsos Managing Director Cliff Young. “That being said, there are still concerns in the short to medium term about the increased costs of inputs such as fuel and durable goods.”

In addition, 43% of the 841 respondents said they expect home prices to continue declining, while only 21% said they expect them to rebound, and 34% said they expect no change. By a margin of 70%-30%, they were opposed to allowing states to declare bankruptcy, and while 77% said they expect the nuclear disaster in Japan to drive greater investment and funding into renewable energy, they were evenly divided on whether it will funnel more money into development of fossil fuels.

The new SmartBrief/Ipsos Leadership Index was conducted online between March 28 and April 5 among SmartBrief subscribers in the finance, investment, equities, futures, banking, and equipment leasing and financing industries, as well as CFOs and other financial professionals. Surveys of this size have a margin of error of +/-4 percentage points.