Pointing up investors' confusion about the investing and savings climate, the American Capital Index of Investor Intentions fell to 187 this month for its fifth straight monthly decline.

The index stood at 210 in October.

The index, a national survey that measures the investment climate and investors' intentions, has dropped 27% since July.

"We believe concerns about the direction of the economy in the next few months, paralleling a national mood of uncertainty about the nation's political direction, is reflected in the survey's negative results," said Donald A. McMullen Jr., president of American Capital Management and Research in Houston.

When asked what they would do if they had $10,000 to invest, 34.6% of the public and "knowledgeable" investors chose savings over investments.

But 57.6% of knowledgeable investors said it was a good time to invest in mutual funds, up from 49.8% in July. Also, 46.1% of respondents said the next 60 to 90 days was a good time to invest, compared with 40.7% last month.

The contradiction "suggests the public is confused about what to do with their money," McMullen said.

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