Barron’s Unsentimental Investors

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Our monthly letter to clients was picked up and excerpted by Barron’s Market Watch: A Sampling of Advisory Opinion.

This is the section of the commentary relating to investor sentiment:

Unsentimental Investors
April Insight
by Ritholtz Wealth Management
90 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016

April 2: Anyone who thinks stock market sentiment is excessive today should speak to the American people. According to a Gallup poll in the first quarter, half of all Americans think putting money into the stock market is a bad idea.

In the 1999-2000 era, 67% of Americans thought putting money into the stock market was a great idea. Only 28% thought it was foolish. Fast-forward to today—more Americans think putting money into the stock market is a bad idea (50%) than think it’s a good idea (46%). We might be tempted to call this irrational nonexuberance in light of the performance of the market over the past five years.

When we think of important market tops, we think of widespread euphoria, absurd valuations, and even the dumbest ideas having endless venture-capital dollars thrown at them. There is little euphoria today for the overall market, as this survey makes clear. Valuations are only mildly elevated relative to history. Profitable companies like King Digital Entertainment, the recently public makers of the videogame Candy Crush, have seen their IPOs tank—and this despite the massive amount of revenue their biggest game brings in. Candy Crush is coming up on a billion dollars in revenue.

That’s the sort of metric the sock puppet from 1999 could only dream about.

-Barry Ritholtz


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