The S&P 500 may only be a percent off of its all-time closing high, but bullish sentiment has taken a big hit in the last few weeks. In the latest weekly survey of sentiment from the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII), bullish sentiment declined for the fourth straight week, falling from 31.6% down to 27.16%. That is the first sub-30 bullish reading since last July and the lowest level of bullish sentiment since April 2013. The last time we saw bullish sentiment decline four weeks in a row was in January 2014. Given their generally contrarian nature, one would think that equities were knee deep in a correction rather than close to record highs.
As bullish sentiment craters, bears are growling a little louder. In the latest week, bearish sentiment increased from 25.4% up to 31.48%, for its fourth straight weekly increase. The last time we saw four straight weeks of increases in bearish sentiment was during the Ebola fueled mini-correction last October.