Britons are not panic selling their equity investments despite heavy falls in the stock market, research showed today.
Although the FTSE 100 index recently fell to its lowest level since 1997, three-quarters of people with money in equities said they intended to hold on to their investments, according to fund managers Fidelity Investments.
The group found that far from being put off by volatility, 10% of private investors saw the current low levels as a good buying opportunity.
And one in five people who have never invested in the stock market said they planned to put money into an equity ISA, unit trust or investment trust this financial year.
More than 40% of the 1,000 people questioned said recent events had not changed their long term view of the benefits of putting money into equities, and just 3% of investors said they planned to sell their funds.
Richard Wastcoat, managing director of Fidelity Investments, said: ‘‘It’s encouraging to see that experienced investors are not panicking and selling out of the market, with a small number seeing the lows as a buying opportunity.
‘‘Looking ahead, I believe it will take some time for investor confidence to be restored in the equity market. As a result the amount of money invested in the stock market is likely to fall in the near future.’’
Londoners were most likely to hold on to their investments and wait for the markets to pick up again, with 86% planning to sit tight, compared to just 69% in the North West.
Nearly three out of 10 people living in the capital who do not currently hold any equity investments said they intended to put money into the stock market this tax year.
Those in the North East and Yorkshire were most likely to invest more during the current low levels, while people in the South East and East Anglia remained most optimistic about the overall benefits of investing in equities.