Manulife Investor Sentiment Index eases after three quarterly gains
Those who say their top priority is to pay down credit cards, lines of credit and mortgages hit a five-year high in Manulife’s poll, conducted in mid-December by Research House, an Environics Company.
More than a quarter of Canadians (28 per cent) said their top priority is to trim their consumer credit, up from 24 per cent a year ago and 20 per cent in early 2008.
The next most-cited priority - to pay down the mortgage - was chosen by 14 per cent, up from 11 per cent a year ago.
The third priority - saving for retirement - was named by 11 per cent of 1,000 respondents in the national poll, down from 14 per cent a year ago.
“Paying down debts is understandably a priority, particularly at this time of year,” said Paul Rooney, President and CEO, Manulife
When asked about their overall financial shape, 46 per cent said they believe they are in better financial health compared to five years ago – that’s off from 51 per cent in 2009 and 60 per cent the previous year.
Another 28 per cent now feel they’re in the same financial boat as late 2004, while one in four felt worse off.
“It’s been a volatile year for many Canadians and we always encourage people to work closely with an advisor and stick to a plan,” Mr. Rooney added. “That helps them stay focused on their long-term goals, plus balance their various types of investments and better manage their cash flows.”
Manulife serves more than one in five Canadians with a wide range of financial services and products and one of our key goals is to help them make better financial decisions, he said.
After three straight quarterly gains, the poll results showed the overall Manulife Investment Sentiment Index fell back seven points compared to three months earlier, to +18 in mid-December.
Since its launch in 1999, the Manulife Investor Sentiment Index has remained in positive territory overall. It peaked at +35 in early 2000, but fell to +11 in December 2001. During the past several years, the index had generally remained near six-year highs, above +20. But it suffered a sharp drop a year ago and again in December, to hit an all-time low of +5.
The quarterly index monitors how Canadians say they feel about investing in 10 different categories and vehicles. The index reflects the percentage of those who say they believe it is a good or very good time to invest minus those who feel the opposite.
Balanced, mutual funds gain ground
The 44th quarterly index survey registered increases for balanced and mutual funds, while segregated funds held steady compared to results in September. The other seven of 10 investment categories and vehicles lost ground.
After some wild swings earlier this year, investment property and investing in their own homes both eased this quarter. Principal residences still remain the most popular investment category – with a wide lead over every other area.
The Manulife Investor Sentiment Index is based on the following six investment categories, shown by order of their overall ranking in the survey.
As well as evaluating the six investment categories, the same question was asked of four investment vehicles.
The poll by Research House was conducted with 1,000 Canadians aged 18 and older, between December 10 and 14, 2009. The results have a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 22 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in
Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.
Manulife Investor Sentiment Index