Investors wary of shares

An Australian Stock Exchange survey shows retail investors' share of total trades over 2002-2003 fell 5.22 per cent from the 2001-02 financial year. The two segments showing the largest declines were full-service wealth management and online trading. However 52 per cent of Australia's adult population still own shares and retail clients accounted for 49 per cent of all share trades. Institutional trades increased to 46 per cent of the total, up from 43 per cent in 2001-02. During May there was a surge in retail investor activity with retail trades climbing above 50 per cent of total trades for the first time, indicating renewed interest going into the new financial year. But Macquarie Bank says the “mood is still sensitive” and investors are being “very picky”.