Sonders: Wall of Worry Remains

While some measures of short-term sentiment have gotten quite bullish, Charles Schwab Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders says that long-term indicators show the stock market’s Wall of Worry remains firmly in tact.

In recent commentary on Schwab’s site, Sonders notes that the Crowd Sentiment Poll that Ned Davis Research puts together is close to the highest level it has reached in the past 8 years or so. But, she adds, the Crash Confidence Index monitored by Yale Economist Robert Shiller shows that an increasing percentage of investors have been worrying about a stock market crash recently. Another survey tracked by Yale asks investors about their confidence in the market going up over the next year. “Interestingly, individual investors’ confidence has generally been in a weakening cycle over the past 14 years, and today’s confidence (or lack thereof) is even lower than it was during the heat of the financial crisis,” Sonders says.

One last Yale survey shows how confident investors are in current valuation levels. “Individual investors today believe the market is more highly-valued than any time since 2001, just after the bursting of the tech stock bubble,” Sonders says. “These Yale surveys are longer-term in nature and highlight the persistence of skepticism during the bull market underway since March 2009. So, although I and other sentiment-watchers may fret about data like that seen in NDR’s Crowd Sentiment Poll (and/or among its component indexes), there is little to worry about from a longer-term sentiment perspective. This has been the ‘most hated bull market in history’ … and reinforces the ‘wall of worry’ the stock market is likely to continue to climb.”




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