Investor confidence held steady in the fourth quarter of 2012 despite widespread economic and political concerns, according to the John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index, which scored 18, up one point from 17 in the third quarter.

Almost half of the 1,127 investors polled (48%) said it is a good time to invest in equities, with one in five seeing blue-chip stocks as having the most potential. Their outlook for bonds was mixed, with 27% saying it is a good time to invest in fixed income securities and 30% saying it is a bad time.

Their top financial New Year’s resolution was to find ways to trim their household budget (29%), followed by rebalancing their investment portfolios (20%), creating a will or estate plan (16%), and learning more about investing (10%). 

When asked about their key concerns, nearly two out of three (63%) cited political gridlock in Washington, D.C., 58% cited the cost of healthcare and 57% cited the national debt. Inflation was a concern for 26% of those polled, with 22% thinking that the rate of inflation will run at more than 4% two years from now, up from 17% who thought so in the third quarter of 2012.

“While investors certainly have a lot on their minds, our survey indicates that many investors are feeling good about their financial position,” Bill Cheney, John Hancock’s chief economist said in a statement.

John Hancock’s quarterly Investor Sentiment Survey polled 1,127 investors with household income of at least $75,000 and assets of $100,000 from Nov. 26, 2012 – Dec. 7, 2012.

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