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Investor optimism in the U.S. remains strong in the first quarter of 2018, and and Retirement Optimism Index pushes into its fifth straight quarter at the highest levels seen in 17 years, reports Jim Norman for Gallup.

The index is based on results from a survey of 1,321 U.S. investors with $10,000 or more invested in stocks, bonds or mutual funds, and asked participants questions on four aspects of the national economy and three elements of investors' personal finances.

At least two-thirds of investors say they are optimistic about each of the three personal finance questions in the index: meeting five-year investment goals, meeting one-year investment goals and maintaining current income. At least 60% are optimistic about three of the four national economic measures -- economic growth, unemployment and stock market performance. On the fourth measure, inflation, 40% of investors are optimistic, with 22% neither optimistic nor pessimistic.

In the past two years, optimism has increased by at least nine percentage points on all of the personal and national measures except inflation and five-year investment goals.

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