Investors were already dampening their expectations of the market for 2020, according to Vanguard Group, even before the widespread negative effects of the coronavirus became obvious.

Longtime Vanguard investors, those invested with the mutual fund firm for 15 years or more, were expecting stock market returns of 5% to 6% in 2020, according to data gathered in 2019 and compiled for its “Investor Expectations” survey. Vanguard plans to use the data gathered as a baseline for comparing investor expectations in the future.

Vanguard described the expectations as “muted,” and noted that the results were gathered before the market plunged in the past week as a result of widespread fear about the coronavirus.

“The respondents were longtime investors who are more affluent and who do not overreact,” said Jean Young, a senior research associate with the Vanguard Investment Strategy Group and co-author of the paper.

“Vanguard recognizes that expectations play a key role in making financial decisions,” said Steve Utkus, another co-author and global head of investor research for the Vanguard Investment Strategy Group, speaking in a statement. “Rather than focusing on past financial markets, our research seeks to understand what investors are anticipating in terms of future scenarios and events.”

Investors were slightly more optimistic than Vanguard, which had predicted returns ranging from 3% to 5%, the report said.

When asked to select from a range of choices, investors said there is a 72% probability that the range of equity market returns for the next year would be between negative 10% and positive 30%.

Survey respondents expressed expectations for both short- and long-term GDP growth at an average three-year annualized growth rate of 2.7% and a 10-year annualized GDP growth rate of 2.9%.

“With this data serving as a baseline for understanding individual investor market expectations, we are seeking to use ongoing surveys to evaluate the ways in which expectations evolve and are interrelated with other dynamics, especially during periods of market volatility,” Young said. The effects on expectations of the coronavirus will be seen in future surveys, she added.