Low interest rates not pushing investors into stocks, study says

Perhaps Americans aren’t so enamored with the stock market.

More than three-quarters of individual investors say in a new survey that agonizingly low interest rates are not coaxing them into stocks.

According to the study by personal-finance website Bankrate.com, 76% of people are not more inclined to invest in equities because of rock-bottom rates on bank savings accounts and certificates of deposit. That’s roughly the same percentage who shied away from stocks in a survey by Bankrate.com last year.

“Although the Fed is trying to push investors into riskier assets in pursuit of better returns, individual investors aren’t biting,” said Greg McBride, the site’s senior financial analyst.

Slightly more people said they’re more open to stocks -- 22% this year versus 18% last year. But that’s statistically insignificant given the poll’s 3.7% margin of error, according to Bankrate.com.

Investors’ caution also is showing up in mutual-fund data.

After stuffing a net $18.4 billion into domestic stock funds in January -- a traditionally strong month for inflows -- investors yanked a net $1.4 billion in February, according to the Investment Company Institute.

In the last five weeks, they’ve put in a net $1.7 billion -- hardly a sign of small-investor enthusiasm with the market.


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Follow Walter Hamilton on Twitter @LATwalter

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