Remember the so-called wealth factor? In the good old 1990s, it boosted consumer spending as Americans used part of their stock-market gains to treat themselves. Then, when the market turned downwards, the not-so-much-wealth factor dampened shoppers’ animal spirits. Now that the books are closed on 2004, which tendency (if either) will affect the consumer marketplace?
A poll by Rasmussen Reports suggests investors are more likely than not to feel they’re prospering. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said their personal portfolios are worth more now than a year ago, vs. 25 percent saying their holdings are worth less. Men were more likely than women (75 percent vs. 60 percent) to say their investments rose in value. This might mean men have more acumen when it comes to investing. Then again, it might simply mean men are less willing to admit that their stock picks are dogs.
—Posted by Mark Dolliver