After nearly a -20% waterfall decline last October through December, in “An exhaustive analysis of the U.S. stock market” a year ago today I wrote:
“Someday in the future, stock investors will be giddy again and completely forget about how they feel right now.”
Sure enough, that’s what happened. Individual investors as gauged by the AAII Investor Sentiment Survey capitulated a year ago and have since then oscillated their enthusiasm for stocks sharply as a result of the stock price action. In the chart below we see the stock index with the bullish investor sentiment below it. Investor sentiment clearly oscillates up and down as investors swing from fear and greed, but right now they are bullish.
I also note the bullish sentiment evaporated during every market dip this year. The stock market has memory because its investors do so after such a fall a year ago investors were quick to react (emotionally at least) to every sign of another drop.
It looks like we’re ringing in the new year with high optimism in the stock market.
The Fear & Greed Index, which includes seven different investor sentiment indicators, is dialed up to the “Extreme Greed” level again as people are probably hopeful recent gainst will continue.
The last time this fear and greed gauge was this high was the end of 2017.
The stock market has gained even more in 2019 than it did in 2017, but this year follows a waterfall decline.
After a strong year like 2019, I suggest investors prepare for what could be the opposite in the period ahead.
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