banks as the source of these products, according to a newly released survey. Eighty percent of consumers say annuities and other tax-deferred products are "very important" or "somewhat important" to their needs, according to a survey of investor sentiment done for American Skandia, an insurance company based in Shelton, Conn. But banks, cited by 11% of the respondents as a preferred source of annuities, finish well behind stockbrokers, at 45%; financial planners, 38%; and insurance agents, 23%. Just 33% of the 1,000 consumers contacted currently own variable annuities. Of the holdouts, 18% were "very likely" to buy a variable annuity; 24%, "somewhat likely"; and 57%, "somewhat unlikely" or "very unlikely" to make such a purchase, the survey found. American Skandia contracted with NFO Research to do the survey during mid-March. The Greenwich, Conn., research firm contacted consumers who own securities, including mutual funds, and have minimum household incomes of $75,000. The respondents overwhelmingly chose investment products as the place to put extra cash. Given $1,000 to invest, 38% would buy mutual funds; 26%, the stocks of U.S. companies; and 11%, certificates of deposit. Of those choosing mutual funds, 56% would buy stock and bond funds, 41% would invest in stock funds, and just 3% would choose bond funds. Among other sentiments respondents expressed: * During the 90 days after the survey, 72% expected to invest in stocks and bonds, while 15% said they would redeem holdings. * 72% believe they are better off financially than a year ago; 15% said they were worse off; and 13% said their condition hadn't changed much. * 71% believe business conditions will improve, while 22% expect conditions to weaken.

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