Each month, Bespoke runs a survey of 1,500 US consumers balanced to census. In the survey, we cover everything you can think of regarding the economy, personal finances, and consumer spending habits. We’ve now been running the monthly survey for more than two years, so we have historical trend data that is extremely valuable, and it only gets more valuable as time passes. All of this data gets packaged into our monthly Bespoke Consumer Pulse Report, which is included as part of our Pulse subscription package that is available for either $39/month or $365/year. We highly recommend trying out the service, as it includes access to model portfolios and additional consumer reports as well. If you’re not yet a Pulse member, click here to start a 30-day free trial now!
Below we highlight the results of questions we ask regarding current views of the stock market, which is just one of literally hundreds of data points included in each monthly report. The first chart shows this month’s reading with each response broken out for the subset of respondents who report themselves as investors and their view of the stock market. While roughly 45% of respondents have a neutral view of the market, about 38% have a positive view and only about 15% have a negative view. It is worth noting the breakdown of these responses because although this month’s reading is the strongest we’ve seen in our survey’s history, it is still only slightly above neutral.
The second chart shows our highest ever unrounded tracker reading (3.274) with only two readings from spring of 2015 matching this number on a rounded basis. Previously, those high ratings for stock market optimism occurred right near an intermediate term peak in the market that stood for over a year. Based on our survey’s history and the recent price action since the US elections, we think it’s fair to describe this enthusiasm for equities as a contrarian signal that things might be getting carried away. Whether it’s the election of a Republican, simply price action, positioning or seasonality, the current run higher in equities seems slightly excessive and the enthusiasm shown by our respondents seems to confirm that suspicion. However, again it is worth taking into account that although this is the strongest reading we have seen to date, it still comes in only slightly above 3, which is a neutral rating.