Investor confidence among affluent investors increased in July, according to monthly data released by Spectrem Group.

The Chicago research company said last week that its Spectrem Millionaire Investor Index rose 4 points in July to negative-16. The advance, which keeps the index in mildly bearish territory, comes after an 18-point decline in June, which represented the largest one-month decline since the index's inception in February 2004.

The Spectrem Affluent Investor Index, which measures the outlook of households with $500,000 or more in investable assets, rose by 1 point in July to negative-19, also a mildly bearish reading.

"Millionaires and the broader affluent population saw their investment optimism improve modestly in July, signaling continued caution following June's significant declines," said George H. Walper Jr., Spectrem's president. "Despite recent stock market gains, the nation's wealthiest investors most likely will remain cautious until concerns such as unemployment and political uncertainty surrounding the health-care debate have stabilized."

In response to an open-ended question about the one factor most affecting their investment plans, affluent investors in July cited: stock market conditions (26%); the economic environment (16%); household cash flow (8%); the political climate (7%); retirement (3%); and household income (2%). Those choosing stock market conditions fell from 30% in April, the last time this question was asked, and those choosing the economy fell from 18%.

Millionaires were slightly more concerned about both stock market conditions (28%) and the economic environment (22%) in July than the affluent.

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