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Small investors are standing up to the bear

Feeling skittish about your stock market investments?

If so, you can take heart from a poll conducted this week by American Express Financial Advisors that indicates only the large institutional investors have been panicking in this volatile market. Individual investors are standing up to the bear.Here's how the Amex poll of 245 small investors across the country stacked up:

- Only 7 percent have made any changes in their portfolios since Monday and only 17 percent say they intend to do so anytime soon.

- By a 2-1 margin, investors believe the Dow Jones Industrial Average will be back above 8,000 by year's end.

- Three quarters say they were expecting a "correction" like the one that took place Monday and they aren't worried about market volatility.

- Nearly half say they have more confidence in the market today than a year ago.

- Three quarters believe this is a good week to buy stocks.

- Eighty percent say stocks are the best place to be for the long term.