Caution Creeps into Investor Sentiment Amid Economic Uncertainty

Investopedia survey shows investors pulling back on risk amid rising anxiety.

Market turbulence in September and early October has rattled investor confidence, according to our latest survey of Investopedia newsletter readers. Nearly half or 45% say they’re at least somewhat worried about the market. Less than half of those surveyed expect the U.S. stock market to deliver positive returns over the next six months—a drop of 11 percentage points from last month, while 34% expect a significant drop in the stock market within the next three months.

Supply Chains Top Investor Worries

Anxiety about supply chain disruptions impacting the stock market was the leading cause of our readers’ concerns, according to the survey, as 53% worried it could impact their portfolios over the next 12 months. More government spending and the impact of inflation followed on their list of woes, with 43% and 41% identifying them as concerns, respectively. The spread of new COVID-19 variants was notably lower, at 29%, and has been steadily declining over the past several months, according to our surveys.

While our readers aren’t rushing to sell their stocks, more than 25% say they are investing less in the market now because of recent events. That’s an increase of six percentage points from May of this year. The majority of our readers plan to hold their contributions steady, while only 15% say they plan to invest more.

Where are the Bubbles?

Cryptocurrencies and U.S. real estate topped investors’ list of frothiest assets, according to the survey. Each captured 37% of respondents, and tied for first place. Even though the most widely-held crypto tokens have appreciated in price notably since our last survey in August, the number of readers stating they’re in a bubble dropped by 10 percentage points. 

32% said stocks were in a bubble, followed by SPACs and NFTs at 22% and 20%, respectively. Only 8% of our readers thought commodities were in a bubble, despite the surge in prices of oil, natural gas, cotton, coffee and other goods. 

An Extra $10,000?

When we asked our readers what they’d do with an extra $10,000, 27% said they would invest it in stocks and another 19% said ETFs. Compared to previous surveys, a growing 18% of readers said they would keep the money in cash. A little over a third or 35% also believe cash is their safest asset. Only 12% said they consider real estate to be their safest asset.

Top Stocks Owned

As for their top holdings, our readers have been fairly consistent over the past 18 months. They favor blue chip and big tech stocks, with more claiming they own shares of Apple, Microsoft and Amazon. Chipmaker Nvidia has become a more popular holding in recent months, now the fourth most-held stock among our readers’ portfolios. A new addition to the top ten this month is vaccine and pharmaceutical maker Johnson & Johnson.

Data and research by Amanda Morelli.