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European Investor Optimism Remains Dim in Stormy Times, According to UBS Index -- Most investors expect economic recovery over the next year

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In the face of considerable losses in the global stock markets, investor optimism amongst individual investors across Europe declined modestly in August, according to the Index of Investor Optimism® - EU 5, a joint effort of UBS and the Gallup Organization.

The overall Index declined marginally to a level of -1 point in August, down from 2 points in July (Table 1). This negative Index value, the lowest measured since the Index - EU 5 baseline survey was conducted in October 2001, reveals that the number of pessimistic responses exceeded optimistic responses for the first time. Interestingly, investors with assets worth €100, 000 or more are significantly more optimistic, with an Index level of 22 points, than investors with assets of €50,000 but less than €100,000 with an index value of -16.1.

Whilst the overall Index remained broadly unchanged, the slight decline in investor attitudes was due to a 2 point decline in the personal income outlook and a 1 point decline in stock market performance questions (Table 2).

More than two thirds of those investors with an opinion believe that the European economy will recover over the next year, and a moderate economic recovery is seen as the most likely scenario by 62 percent of investors surveyed (compared with 67 percent in June). In contrast, only 6 percent of investors now expect a strong recovery (compared to 2 percent in June); 28 percent of investors believe economic weakness will continue, unchanged from previous months; and only 4 percent believe economic conditions will worsen.

London, 27 August 2002