Americans said in December that they were more inclined to save and invest over the next three months than they were in November.

That is the key finding of a survey by a Houston-based mutual fund company that gauges what Americans plan to do with their money over 60 to 90 days.

The December index of investor intentions, published by American Capital Management and Research, is based on a telephone poll of 1,000 households selected at random. The survey was conducted for the first time in November.

Mortgage Savings a Spur

Consumers, many of whom have refinanced mortgages at lower interest rates, have more cash after fixed expenses for both spending and saving, said Donald A. McMullen, president of American Capital Management and Research, which manages $16 billion in mutual funds.

Delta Strategies, an independent research firm in Austin that compiled the survey, found that 47.6% of the respondents in December said they would put money into savings or investments, compared with 42.8% last month. Those who said they would save or invest during the next three months jumped 5% to 24% in December.

The survey also found that 24% of participants said they would tap their savings or investments over the next three months, up from 19.1% in November.

A Hypothetical $10,000.

Investors were asked how they would invest a hypothetical $10,000, and 42% said they would invest in mutual funds, up from 36.4% last month.

The second most popular choice was a stock purchase, which drew 35.3% of those polled, compared with 30.1% a month ago. Those who would place the $10,000 in savings stayed at 30.4%.

In terms of current holdings, 73% said they have savings accounts, down from 80% last month. Other than that, there were no major shifts over the previous month.

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