Cause & Consequence?

Princeton professor Burton Malkiel predicts that “U.S. stocks should produce returns of about 7%, five points higher than the yield on safe bonds” for the long-run future. Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, the author of the best selling A Random Walk Down Wall Street advises that “stocks were losers to bonds in 2011. But don’t invest with a rear-view mirror. U.S. stocks, available in a broad-based index fund or ETF, are more attractive than bonds today.”

Meantime, money management shop MFS reports in a new survey that “investors’ wall of worry continued to rise throughout 2011.” The MFS report goes on to note:

Pessimism, as measured by investors’ risk tolerance, continued to grow during the year as well. Furthermore, investors’ positive perceptions of financial products waned considerably during the year as well.