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Survey of retail investors in March 2022: sentiment on the eve of the opening of the stock market

Methodology

A total of 910 people were surveyed via the Levada Lab online investor panel – the Levada Center research laboratory on Telegram The survey was conducted from 17.03.2022 to 23.03.2022.

Investment sentiment

The conducted survey of retail investor sentiment shows a sharp decline of optimism about the future and their own financial situation. Confidence that their personal financial situation will improve has been decreasing throughout the year, but the current drop was especially dramatic: the number of those who expect their finances to improve this year has dropped from 44% in October 2021 to 13% in March 2022.

A noticeable decrease in optimism affected, among other things, the assessment of the economic situation in the country. The share of investors who consider the next year “neither good nor bad” for the country’s economy has significantly dropped, and the share of pessimists has increased: from 33% in October 2021 to 88% in March 2022.

When asked to characterize the financial consequences of the current crisis, 70% of the surveyed investors noted that they had suffered financial loss, a third of respondents assessed their loss as significant (33%). One in seven investors noted no losses or profits (14%), the same number spoke of profits (16%). Big investors are more likely to view their losses as significant.

How would you describe the financial consequences of the last few weeks for you personally? (in %)

 Total< 500 thousand rubles500 thousand – 3 million> 3 million
Significant losses33293144
Small losses37394226
Small profit101199
Significant profit6579
No losses or profit14161212

The survey showed noticeable differences in how Russian investors experience the situation on the Russian securities market. The general range of feelings is dominated by negative emotions – “uncertainty” (67%), “anxiety” (35%) and “anger” (19%). Only 5% of respondents experience a feeling of panic. Feelings that indicate an ongoing adaptation to an unstable situation and are characterized by the following emotions: “acceptance” (31%) and “hope” (24%). Definitely positive feelings – “inspiration” and “confidence” – are experienced by only 7% and 6% of the surveyed investors, respectively.

The explanation of the significance of the current situation for the market also differs markedly. The audience of investors was divided into three roughly equal parts: those who see the situation as a market collapse; those who consider it temporary difficulties; and those who see new opportunities in what is happening. There is a noticeable dependence of the perception of the situation on the volume of the investment portfolio: respondents with an investment volume of more than 3 million rubles more often see the current events as a “collapse for the market players”, and also feel anger, uncertainty, anxiety.

Financial results and plans

Personal financial results over the past weeks are of critical importance for forming an attitude to the events of the last month. Respondents who record the absence of losses are more likely to assess what is happening as new opportunities, rather than as a personal tragedy.

Approximately half of the investors who lost money as a result of the market crash estimated a loss of 10%-25% of the entire portfolio (46%). A third of respondents lost a quarter of their invested funds or more.

Despite the pessimism in the assessments of the country’s future and personal well-being, as well as significant financial losses, the majority of retail investors plan to either maintain the volume of investments (37%) or increase it (41%). Compared with the results of the survey conducted in October, there was a decrease in the proportion of respondents who are going to increase investments. Respondents, for whom the current crisis seems to be a window of opportunity, are noticeably more willing to continue investing.

Are you planning or not planning to change the share of invested savings over the next 3 months? (in %)

 Mar.21Oct.21Mar.22
I plan to significantly increase investments24910
I plan to slightly increase investments414531
No changes264037
I plan to slightly reduce investments459
I plan to significantly reduce investments219
Can’t say3
I plan to leave the market4

Market prospects

Assessing the prospects of the market, respondents rather adhered to a pessimistic forecast. Slightly less than half of investors predicted a decline over the next three months (44%), and 16% believed that the market would be closed. Growth was predicted by 15% of the surveyed investors. Most often, rapid growth was expected by respondents who saw new opportunities in the situation, but even in this group negative assessments for the near future prevailed.

The growth of the Moscow Stock Exchange index and quotations of Russian stocks on March 24, the first day of trading after the break, went against the expectations of most retail investors, but in accordance with their personal investment plans – as we indicated above, about 40% of the survey participants were going to raise the share of investments.

In your opinion, what will happen to the market in the next 3 months? (in %)

 Total“Crash”“Temporary difficulties”“New opportunities”
Will be closed1624149
Will continue to decline44494539
It will neither decrease, nor grow25222429
It will start to grow1551723

Respondents have different estimates of the time required to restore the previous prices to the level of January 2021. Respondents who are going to increase their investments in the next three months are more optimistic in their forecast, but even they, as a rule, take more than one year to recover. Respondents who are cautious about changing the volume of investments are more likely to expect recovery only after three years or more.

 

Reaction to the crisis

Over the past month, investors, like other Russians, have tried to save their savings in different ways. We asked about the most common forms of consumer and savings behavior.

Despite the fact that banks imposed restrictions on transactions with foreign currency accounts, 30% of respondents have placed their funds on them over the past month. This was more often done by respondents with an investment volume between 500 thousand rubles to 3 million rubles, as well as respondents for whom the current turbulence is “temporary difficulties”. Respondents with an investment volume of over 3 million rubles were noticeably more likely than others to withdraw cash in foreign currency, but also to sell euros and dollars. Respondents with relatively small investment portfolios (up to 500 thousand rubles) took any action with savings less often than others. This may partly be due to lower risks for investors with small portfolios, but also due to the fact that “small” investors more often see new opportunities in what is happening, and less often – a reason for panic.

METHODOLOGY

A total of 910 people were surveyed via the Levada Lab online investor panel – the Levada Center research laboratory on Telegram The survey was conducted from 17.03.2022 to 23.03.2022.

The ANO Levada Center is included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents.

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