Stock investing surges among blacks

The number of black Americans putting their money to work in stocks has climbed sharply in the past five years, as investment firms have sought new business in a largely untapped market, a new survey shows.

Today, roughly three-quarters of blacks earning more than $50,000 a year own stocks or stock mutual funds, up from only 57 percent five years ago, according to the survey, released last week by fund company Ariel Capital Management.

Interest among their white counterparts, meanwhile, has edged only slightly higher. Today, 84 percent of whites in the same income group are invested in stocks, compared with 81 percent five years ago, the study showed.

While black Americans are being courted more, they also are overcoming their distrust of the financial-services industry, benefiting from education campaigns, and relying more heavily on their 401(k) retirement plans, says Mellody Hobson, president of Chicago-based Ariel.

Recent market experiences for blacks, however, have been unpleasant. Today, 43 percent of blacks report their long-term confidence in the market has been rattled, up from 32 percent last year. Among whites, 25 percent said their confidence had been shaken, up from 15 percent.

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