Market sentiment and anxiety 07102008

The AAII sentiment survey (membership required) measures the percentage of individual investors who are bullish, bearish, and neutral on the stock market short term; individuals are polled from the AAII Web site on a weekly basis. Only one vote per member is accepted in each weekly voting period.

Sentiment data is displayed along with a proprietary anxiety index. The chart above includes something that the AAII version doesn’t. Click chart to resize.

At every date along the X Axis of this chart, you can see what the S&P500 did one year out from that date. For example, if you put your finger on the X axis on October 19, 1990, for example, and then moved your finger up to where the S&P500 intersects with that date, you’ll see that the S&P500, in the 12 months following, was up 26%. During the last 21 years there have been 14 or so occurrences where negative sentiment outweighed positive sentiment, and by a pretty big margin. (Resize chart by clicking and dragging handles.)

Couldn’t help noticing Tuesday David Tice agreed to sell his David W. Tice & Associates investment management firm to Federated Investors Inc. for up to $142.5 million. Is this this pure coincidence or did Tice decide bearish sentiment was high enough (and bullish sentiment low enough) to sell out? Tice, who founded the Prudent Bear and Global Income Fund in 1995, will remain with Federated Investors. The purchase price, if certain conditions are met, could be 8.53% of assets under management. Is that a record? Guess Tice knows how to run a Bear fund, and a thing or two besides.
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