Individual investors’ confidence in the U.S. capital markets is stabilizing this year after dropping precipitously between 2007 and 2008, according to a survey by the Center for Audit Quality.

Seventy-three percent of the 1,000 investors surveyed in recent weeks expressed confidence in the U.S. capital markets, a 3-percentage-point increase from last year, but within the survey's margin of error.

“This reflects the resiliency of investors, particularly as the market has rebounded in 2009,” said CAQ executive director Cindy Fornelli.

Respondents’ confidence in investing in U.S. publicly traded companies held steady at 75 percent. Confidence in audited financial statements released by public companies declined slightly, however, to 70 percent, down three percentage points.

Investors are divided on how much longer the recession will last. Half of the survey respondents believe it will end in the next year and half think it will go on for at least two more years. Investors continue to adapt to the economic environment, with 61 percent saying they have changed their investment behavior in the last six months, roughly the same percentage as last year (60 percent). Investors say the biggest change in their behavior over the last six months is choosing to invest less (22 percent).

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