07/18/2012 10:11 EDT | Updated 09/17/2012 05:12 EDT

Manulife: enthusiasm for most types of investment has dropped since last year

TORONTO - Investor sentiment in Canada slid through the first half of 2012, according to an index compiled by Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC).

The firm's Investor Sentiment Index stood at 24 points at the end of June.

That's down two points from the end of December and down five points from a year ago, when the index stood at 29.

Manulife says it found less enthusiasm for almost all types of investments, including fixed-income securities, investment properties, balanced funds and cash.

It says the main exception was a growing appetite for investing in the stock market.

The insurance and investment company says Canadians are cautious because of persistent global challenges to the economy without significant signs of recovery.