Sentiment Turns Bullish as ETFs Rally
September 7th 2012 at 3:15pm by Tom Lydon
Despite the traditionally languid summer months, stock exchange traded funds are on a tear, with the S&P 500 rallying almost 10% over the past couple months to its highest since 2008. Meanwhile, sentiment polls reveal the highest number of bulls since March, two months before the May sell-off.
According to Investors Intelligence’s advisors sentiment survey, the bulls rose to over 50% the latest week and the percentage is “now entering the ‘danger area’ with the suggestion that there is not a lot of cash remaining on the sidelines.”
“We now count the most bulls since last March when it numbered 52.7%. Many averages traded at 2012 highs then,” John Gray wrote in the report. “Too much bullishness is negative and their number no longer predicts higher markets although a sell-off is not imminent either. Indexes held near their highs for about a month after that late March peak reading for the bulls.”
In contrast, the number of bears fell to 24.5% to 26.6% a week ago. Now, the spread between the bulls and bears rose to 26.5% from 24.4% a week ago.
“Danger is signaled at +30% and above, with scary readings above +40% suggesting major tops,” Gray added. “This is a contrarian indicator. Low or negative spreads show little risk for new positions. High readings signal increasing risk.”
Technical analysts follow sentiment data to monitor which trades are getting crowded. Currently, bullish sentiment has risen along with the market since the June bottom. [S&P 500 ETF at Highest Level Since 2008]
Equities have strengthened in anticipation of further Federal Reserve action after Ben Bernanke’s speech at Jackson Hole meeting, and ahead of the FOMC Sept. 12 policy meeting next week.
SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY)
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Max Chen contributed to this article.
Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own SPY.
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