Friday, May 20, 2011

Don't Buy Retail

Wall Street sees contrary sentiment
In retail investors' presentiment,
So, when Mom or Pop's right,
One asks if it might
Be the good call that coincident'ly went?

The Wall Street Journal's Kelly Evans writes in her Ahead of the Tape column that the American Association of Individual Investors' sentiment survey has been showing more predictive power than usual in the first half of this year.   Market professionals often see retail investors as a contrary indicator; small investors typically react in a herd to broad market moves, such that, as Stifel Nicolaus strategist David Lutz puts it: "If everyone's on one side of the boat, I like being on the other one."  The fact that the S+P 500 index climbed 6.6% after a bullish reading of the AAII December survey is an interesting departure, but how soon before Mom and Pop revert to type?

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