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Millionaires Return to Stocks, But It's No Endorsement

Hans-Peter Merten | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

The wealthy may be bearish on the economy, but they're bullish on stocks.

A new survey from Spectrem Group found that 55 percent of American millionaires plan to put money into stocks this year, up from 45 percent in 2010.

When asked which sectors they plan to invest in, the millionaires ranked tech first. Next came health care followed by pharma. This may be due in part to the average age of the millionaires: a health-care intensive 63 years old.

This doesn't mean that the wealthy are entirely sanguine about the economy and the market. Their least favorite sectors are construction, autos and transportation – the very sectors that are supposedly leading the recovery.

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George Walper, president of Spectrem, said that along with stocks, more than half of millionaires are also putting more money into cash – whether it's money markets or everyday savings accounts.

"They're hedging their bets," he said. "They see a sporadic recovery" in housing and autos, he added.

He said the reason millionaires are easing back into stocks is their need for higher returns and the relative strength of the stock market last year.

(Read more: Millionaires Want Their Kids to Inherit Values, Too)

"It's really that they're looking for an improved rate of return," he said.

About half of America's millionaires are investing overseas. But they're not piling into the BRICS like they used to. While Brazil and China still top their list of preferred countries for investing, Canada and Europe ranked third and fourth. Russia ranked last and India was also low on the list.

Walper said that the wealthy are looking for economic growth, but they also value stability.

"Canada is seen as stable," he said. "And they don't have the same health-care issues we have."

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