When stocks recently hit a six-month high, U.S. Trust's chief investment officer, Christopher Hyzy, expected to hear from investors eager to buy more shares. Instead, calls came in from clients who wanted to know if they should take profits, or how they could protect their winnings following the Standard & Poor's 500's quick 20% jump to break through 1300.
It's not just U.S. Trust investors who are cautious. Across the country, employers are gradually adding jobs, and fears of a double-dip U.S. recession have receded momentarily—enough to propel U.S. stocks up 4.7% in January, double their gain from a year ago. Yet financial advisors and money managers are listening to the same anxious refrain from their clients: Make sure you don't lose our money! Investors may be resigned to diminished returns, what with bond yields plumbing historic depths and banks paying almost no interest, but their biggest priority remains to avoid, at all cost, a repeat of the 2008's disastrous losses.