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If it is Friday then this is the week’s sentiment round up:
If you’ve been monitoring the mutual fund flow data, you wouldn’t be surprised to see the AAII continue to show the average US retail investor as decidedly unimpressed and cool about the rising stock market. This week the pessimist camp grew slightly to 41% while the bulls shrank by 9% points to 35%.
The latest Investors Intelligence bulls edged off the half way mark to 48.9% while the bears increased slightly to 24.4%. This is nothing really noteworthy by itself, except to mark the continued 2:1 bull to bear ratio we’ve been seeing for the nth week. So far, the market has not succumbed to this flashing red light and it is anyone’s guess when it will finally decide to do so.
I mentioned the NAAIM Survey of Manager Sentiment as a lesser known sentiment measure at the start of the year. And it is time we updated it to see what it can tell us about the mood of active investment managers in the US:
At the end of September the NAAIM was +86.41 and has since dropped slightly to 68. It is difficult to see in the chart above, but the last time this sentiment measure showed as much bullishness was back in - Yikes! - October 17th 2007 (when it was +86.93). And it was surprisingly, even higher earlier in that year when it reached +90 in January, February and May 2007.
The RBC Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household (CASH) survey jumped 11.8 points to 51.8 in October - this, after falling to an all time low of 1.6 in February 2009. The monthly RBC Index measures consumer attitudes on the current and future state of local economies, personal finance situations, as well as their savings and confidence to make large investments.
Finally, Consensus which measures futures traders shows them to be 72% bullish. Once again, raising the hairs on your back, that’s the highest level since October 2007.
The puts and calls are flying furiously but there is a definite skew as option traders favor the bullish side of the derivatives. Both the ISE and the CBOE measures of option activity show a continuing crowding on the long side.
The ISE sentiment index (equity only) closed at 221 this Friday, implying that more than twice as many calls were purchased to open a trade as puts. Meanwhile, the CBOE (equity only) put call ratio fell to 0.47 on Tuesday - among the lowest single day ratios for the whole year… so far.
But the itchy trigger fingered Rydex traders have suddenly gotten cold feet. Even as the market has recovered smartly from its latest set back, the Rydex Nova/Ursa ratio has fallen as these short term market timers eschew the long side:
Cross currents in sentiment are completely normal and something that any contrarian has to get used to. However, the current market’s sentiment conditions are especially confusing as it seems that one measure simply contradicts the one before it. When you don’t see an edge, don’t push your luck.
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