CAQ survey: Investors remain confident in U.S. companies and audited information

Despite fluctuating markets over the past year, individual investors remain confident in investing in U.S. companies that are publicly traded and in audited financial information, according to the "Main Street Investor Survey," the Center for Audit Quality's (CAQ) fourth annual survey of the investing public.

For the third year in a row, 75 percent of respondents in the individual investor survey said they have confidence investing in U.S. public companies. Similarly, investor confidence in audited financial information released by public companies remains strong at 70 percent, unchanged from last year (see chart).

"This is the third year of a depressed economy and the fact that investors continue to have fundamental confidence in publicly traded companies and the capital markets is encouraging," Executive Director Cindy Fornelli told the media during a September 9 briefing.

Investor confidence in capital markets declined somewhat, with confidence in U.S. capital markets dropping from 73 percent in 2009 to 68 percent in 2010. Confidence in capital markets outside the United States continued a decline that began in 2008, falling 10 percentage points in the past year to 47 percent. Roughly half (48 percent) of investors say they had changed their investment behavior in the previous six months in reaction to the economy, down from 61 percent in 2009.

When asked who does the best job of protecting their interests aside from themselves, one third of investors (32 percent) cite public company auditors as their first or second choice, with 16 percent of respondents selecting auditors as the single group that does the best job.

The telephone survey of 1,001 investors was conducted July 14-22, 2010 by The Glover Park Group. The margin of error was +/-3 percent. Investors were defined as those with investments valued at $10,000 or more.

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