Bear market chastens investors

Financial missteps in the US are often seen as a resume builder. Large losses are indicative of a well-worn investor or entrepreneur who has seen the valleys and will recognize the highest peak before it comes.

In that tradition, most US investors appear relatively undaunted by the recent bear market, according to the Forum for Investor Advice, a Bethesda, Md., brokerage.

Despite the fact that 1 out of 3 investors saw portfolios drop in value at least 10 percent last year, only 15 percent of investors said they have moved or plan to move more assets into bonds, a recent forum study found.

In fact, more than 20 percent of the 500 investors polled online actually plan to buy more stocks and stock mutual funds before the year is over.

According to Barbara Levin, the forum's executive director, the data illustrate an unexpected benefit of the uncertain economy: Investors are wiser about the vulnerability of investing in the stock market.

For example, 60 percent of those who see their portfolio as riskier today experienced losses last year. Yet 87 percent of investors are optimistic about trading over the next 10 years.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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