Well, it’s Thursday morning, so that must mean it’s time for another downbeat sentiment survey from AAII (American Association of Individual Investors). In this week’s update, bullish sentiment declined just under two percentage points, which is hardly anything major, but when it comes as part of a six-week slog where bullish sentiment has declined in five of those, it says a lot about just how negative individual investors are towards the equity market. At a level of 23.74%, bullish sentiment is the lowest it has been since the Brexit vote, even as the S&P 500 is within 2.5% of a 52-week high. This now makes it 51 straight and 85 out of the last 86 weeks where bullish sentiment has come in below 40%.
The bulls didn’t just move to the sidelines and turn neutral either. While bullish sentiment declined just under two percentage points, bearish sentiment ticked up over four points to 37.82%, and that comes on the heels of last week’s 5.8 point increase. Besides the week ending 9/22 where bearish sentiment was slightly higher at 37.82%, negative sentiment hasn’t been this high since the February lows.