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TORONTO (Reuters) - Most Canadian investors say volatility is now a fact of life in financial markets, and not all of them think that is a bad thing.
A survey released on Tuesday showed 72 percent of respondents see market volatility as the "new normal", with see-sawing global markets, uncertainty about the European debt crisis and tepid economic growth driving many investors to the sidelines.
But 47 percent of those polled viewed the volatility as a good opportunity to invest, the survey for BMO Financial Group (BMO.TO) showed.
Canadians are right to assume market volatility will not dissipate anytime soon, said Rajiv Silgardo, co-CEO of BMO's global asset management unit.
"Several factors lead us to conclude that volatility will continue to characterize the financial markets for the foreseeable future," Silgardo said in a statement.
"These include ongoing pressures in the euro zone, higher inflation rates in China, tensions in the Middle East and a tentative U.S. economic recovery."
The online survey found 84 percent of investors have changed their investing habits to adapt to the new environment, while 56 percent said global economic troubles have had a negative impact on their investments.
BMO, Canada's fourth-largest lender, urged investors to diversify into high-yield and defensive investments, including consumer staples, telecom, utilities and health care, and to avoid trying to time the market.
The online survey of 1,156 adults was conducted between May 17 and May 22 by polling firm Pollara.
Reporting By Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Peter Galloway