Millionaire and mass-affluent households in the U.S. are markedly more optimistic about the economy than they were two months ago, according to the Phoenix Marketing International’s Global Wealth Monitor.
The surge in optimism was particularly strong among households with more than $1 million in investable assets. More than half of these high-net-worth investors (53%) were optimistic about the U.S. economy over the next three months, up dramatically from 34% in early January.
Among the mass affluent, those with $250,000 to $1 million, optimism was also high. More than four in 10 (41%) were optimistic about the three-month outlook, up from 29% the last time around. Meanwhile, the level of pessimism among them fell, from 64% to 52%.
While high-net-worth investors were more optimistic about the economy, some (12%) nevertheless planned to make net decreases to their portfolio positions, “perhaps anticipating that the strong equity markets rally may be winding down,” according to Phoenix Marketing International, a global market research firm.
Interestingly, the relatively less optimistic mass affluent investors showed greater eagerness to increase their investments. Almost three in 10 (28%) said they planned to increase their net portfolio positions, up from 23% in the prior period. Among millionaires, the percentage fell — from 41% to 40%.
In addition to tracking planned changes to overall investments, the PMI Global Wealth Monitor also examines actual investment changes in specific asset categories in the past three months. The firm found that mass-affluent investors have gradually increased their mutual fund and real estate investments over the course of the previous three tracking periods. They also fattened their deposit accounts in the most recent tracking period, with 30% saying they increased their cash deposits, up sharply from 18% in the previous tracking period.
High-net-worth households reported similar investment behavior with continued increases in mutual fund positions. More than three in 10 (32%) said they increased their stock investments in the previous three months, up significantly from 22% in the last tracking period.
The PMI Global Wealth Monitor surveys high-net-worth and mass-affluent U.S. households every two months. The findings of the most recent survey were based on responses received from 1,175 participants from late February to early March this year.