How is sentiment lately? It is insanely negative. I am going to give you three different factors — anecdotal, data driven, and media.
1) For most of the past 2 years, I have invariably been the most bearish guy in the room. This has been true whether I was at a meeting or conference, on TV, in print, or simply out having dinner. The lone exception were anytime Nouriel Roubini was also present. Then I would be the 2nd most bearish person in the room.
Lately, I am the most bullish guy in the room — and I have to tell you, that is just plum weird to me. This week, there were 4 separate occasions when I was in meetings, on TV, at a lunch, at a private dinner. Its very odd.
2) The October University of Michigan Confidence number is just shy of the lowest level since 1980. University of Michigan Consumer Confidence level
is at levels not seen since the end of the 1970’s bear market. (Hence, my “Blue” double entendre). The telephone survey is compiled last week and as late as yesterday. It
certainly reflects much of the market action over the past 2 weeks.
That’s right, we are as negative as anytime we have been over the entire course of the 1982-2000 Bull, or the start of the 2000-03 bear. Worse than the 1990 recesson, worse than LTCM or the Thai Baht crisis, worse than the tech and dot com crash, worse than 9/11.
That is some seriously bearish sentiment:
U. of Mich. Survey similar reading to 1970’s Bear Market low level
chart courtesy of FusionIQ
I keep hearing people say (anecdotally) there isn’t enough Bearish sentiment, but with equities nearly cut in half, and near 30 year lows at UoM Sentiment, this is just about as bearish as it gets. And that’s bullish for equities.
3) On a media note, beyond the Soup lines on the cover of Time magazine, this weekend I have to Tivo “Fall of the Fat Cats” on CNN.
Programs of that sort are more anecdotal support for excessive Bearishness . . .