The S&P 500 is once again fighting to gain back some lost ground in the past week. That move higher has been able to lift sentiment slightly, but overall tones remain historically pessimistic. The American Association of Individual Investors weekly sentiment survey showed bulls crawl back up to 18.9% from a historic low of 15.8% reached last week. With less than a fifth of respondents bullish, this remains in the bottom 2% of all weeks on record.
Of course, with bullish sentiment historically depressed, bearish sentiment is historically elevated at 43.9%. That is down from much higher readings of the past year that eclipsed 50% but remains just off the upper decile of its historical range.
As such, bears continue to outnumber bulls by 25 full percentage points. Given the contrarian nature of sentiment indicators, that would still be taken as a positive sign for forward performance of equities as we highlighted on page 6 of last week’s Bespoke Report.
Taking into account other sentiment indicators shows a similar picture. The NAAIM Exposure Index currently sits at 74.05 which is off of the low of 30 from early March while the Investors Intelligence survey saw the first negative bull-bear spread reading in a month this week. Combining these readings, our Sentiment Composite has come off the lows but is still at one of the weaker readings of the past decade. Click here to view Bespoke’s premium membership options.