Millionaires' Confidence Reaches Three-Year High

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Wealthy investors now have more confidence in the economy than they've had in almost three years, Chicago consulting firm Spectrem said Wednesday. The company's Millionaire Investor Confidence Index swung from a negative number last month, which indicates pessimism among millionaires about U.S. investment prospects, into neutral territory.

The Spectrem Millionaire Investor Confidence Index sits at 0 this month, up from a negative 6 reading in September. It's now at its highest level since December 2007, when the index hit 8, according to Spectrem. Meanwhile, the Spectrem Affluent Investor Confidence Index, which surveys households with at least $500,000 in investable assets, increased to negative 13 from negative 16 in September.

Both indices have advanced for the second straight month, indicating that investment confidence among the wealthy has been on the upswing since hitting bottom in August. Much of the improving sentiment has to do with the stock market and the overall economic environment, which respondents said were about twice as likely to influence their investment plans than their own cash flow or the U.S. political climate, according to the surveys.

But the numbers indicate cautious optimism at best, Spectrum warns. "While the stock market's October gains clearly contributed to this positive trend, underlying economic fundamentals remain a top concern for America's wealthiest investors," George H. Walper, Jr., president of the company, said in a statement.

And, of course, the feelings of the wealthiest investors may differ widely from those of investors with fewer assets.

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