Individual investors get nervous

From the perspective of the always fickle individual investor, the sharp commodity pullback which modestly shook the tree in stocks over the past few weeks has gotten them more cautious. The AAII measure of individual investor sentiment (as opposed to the II measure of newsletter writers which still shows a small amount of bears and elevated bulls) saw Bulls fall to 26.7 from 30.8, the lowest since Sept and the Bears rise to 41.3 v 35.5, the most since Sept. It certainly was a good contrarian set up for yesterday’s rally but I’m still of the belief that a downward trend with lower highs has begun. In Asia, with just 3 weeks left before Q1 ended, the Japanese disaster basically froze their economy as the full Q saw a contraction of 3.7% annualized, almost twice the expectations of -1.9%. In Europe, Spanish bond yields continue to creep higher after Spain sold 10 and 30 yr paper that in total were 800m euros less than expected and the bid to cover for both were below 2.0. Positively for the US consumer, gasoline prices fell another .02 and are now down .08 over the past week to a still painful $3.91 for many.

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