A Flawed Survey But Valuable Nonetheless

Say what you want about the AAII Sentiment Survey, undoubtedly it’s quite flawed and that’s not a surprise to anyone. However, the survey which came out this morning (which represents how investors were feeling at the end of last week or earlier in this week, coincidentally this was during a stretch of 4 consecutive down days) is not indicative of a market on the verge of a correction:


This is the lowest percentage of bulls and highest percentage of bears in the AAII survey year-to-date. While I am skeptical of the “BULLISH” number in this survey, the percentage of “NEUTRAL” respondents rings true to me. Moreover, we have definitely seen a growing number of calls for a market correction during the past couple of weeks. This doesn’t mean a pullback or correction is off the table, it just means that with so many market participants bracing for one it makes a significant market downturn much less likely.

Finally, AAII Bulls at 20% or below is a relatively rare sighting. Previous instances when the bullish contingent was this small include March 2009 and August 2010, not bad times to be long of equities…