Those Market Swings

Our readers weigh in on what they think about Wall Street's volatility and how it's affecting them

Investors think the gyrating stock market will affect both the economy and their spending -- but they haven't given up on stocks. That's the conclusion from our July 25 Reader Survey, in which about 650 readers participated.

An overwhelming 82% said they think the recent swings in the market will affect the economy. And 62% said the uncertain market will prompt them to spend less of their income than before (though 34% remain undaunted).

Yet, 30% said they see the down market as an opportunity to buy more stocks, and 42% said they'll hold onto stocks they own, rather than sell. When asked what they would do with a sudden windfall, moreover, about 30% said they would put it into stocks, the same percentage that would opt for depositing it in a savings account. Some 21% would choose bonds, and 20% real estate.

Like just about everyone else, those who responded aren't quite sure where the market's bottom will be. Some 44% said they think the markets haven't bottomed yet, while 26% said they have, and 30% said it isn't clear yet.

Some 80% of those who participated said they own stocks outside of a pension plan.

Here are the complete results of the survey, which are unscientific since anyone who wished to could particpate:

Do you own and/or trade stocks outside of a 401(k) or other pension plan?

Option Total %  
Yes 508 78.88 %
No 97 15.06 %
Not anymore 39 6.06 %

Do you think the recent swings in the market will have any effect on the economy?

Option Total %  
Yes 533 82.38 %
No 76 11.75 %
Don't know 38 5.87 %

Have the swings in the market prompted you to spend less of your income than before?

Option Total %  
Yes 401 62.27 %
No 221 34.32 %
Not sure 22 3.42 %

If you own stocks, are you more inclined as a result of the market's swings to:

Option Total %  
Buy more stocks 185 29.04 %
Sell your current holdings 118 18.52 %
Neither buy nor sell, but simply hold stocks 271 42.54 %
I don't own stocks 63 9.89 %

Do you think that the markets have now hit bottom?

Option Total %  
Yes 166 25.9 %
No 286 44.62 %
Don't know 189 29.49 %

If you experienced an income windfall today, where would you put the money?

Option Total %  
Stocks 191 29.84 %
Bonds 131 20.47 %
Savings account 191 29.84 %
Real estate 127 19.84 %
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