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Individual Investors Head For the Hills

For the last few years we have been highlighting the 'fair-weather' state of bullishness on the part of individual investors.  When the market rallies, they have been slow to embrace the advance. At even a hint of trouble, however, they rush for the exits.  This week's sentiment survey of investor sentiment from AAII was a case in point.

In this week's poll, bullish sentiment declined from 38.12% down to 32.18%.  This represents the fourth weekly decline in the five weeks since bullish sentiment peaked on 12/26/13 at 55.06%.  While bullish sentiment declined, the bearish camp became more crowded rising from 23.76% to 32.76%.  

With this week's increase, bearish sentiment is now greater than bullish sentiment for the first time since mid-August.  The most interesting aspect about these two periods is what provoked the increase in cautiousness.  Back then it was concerns over Syria that were weighing on investor sentiment.  Fast forwarding to today, the big issue weighing on investors' minds is now centered on Syria's neighbor to the North (Turkey).  For such a small area of the world, this region continues to garners a lot of attention.

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