Friday, February 1, 2013

Sentiment is Heady and Out of Sync With Macro

National Association of Active Investment Managers (NAAIM) went 104% long equities this week. This is the highest percentage long in the 7 year history of their survey.

Over 80% is generally overly bullish and above 90% was last seen run to the 2007 SPX top. Moreover, the most bearish manager in the survey is now 60% net long equities, the most bullish position in the history of the survey for the most bearish manager. 

What happens next? Most likely is a pause or pullback. Not a major top. Yet. You should notice with all sentiment surveys that bullish (or bearish) extremes lead price. They normally begin to decline as price heads higher (divergence). A decline in sentiment as price heads higher should be a watch out. For now, note one more sign of exuberance.

We see the same correlation between sentiment, price and macro expectations globally as we see in the US using CESI. But, sentiment is heady (rising red line) while global macro expectations have been disappointing (declining blue line). The chart below is from BAML