U.S. investors most pessimistic since February and March 2009
This is according to an American Association of Individual Investors survey conducted during the week that ended Wednesday.
Some 52.1% of investors surveyed were bearish about the U.S. stock market, up 0.9 percentage point from last week and well above the historical average of 30.5%.
Bullishness, meanwhile, dipped 1.4 percentage points to 32.9%, compared with a historical average of 38%.
Neutral sentiment, which the survey defined as expectations that stock prices will remain essentially unchanged over the next 6 months, rose 0.5 percentage point to 15%, less than half of its historical average of 31.5%.
The benchmark S&P 500 index is down more than 20% for the year to date after hitting record highs as recently as Feb. 19, ending a bull market that began in early March 2009.
The index rose 4.4% in afternoon trading Thursday after record high unemployment claims boosted expectations for more stimulus measures.
Overall, 38% of investors surveyed by AAII said they were not making any changes to their portfolio due to the coronavirus-linked selloff, while 28% said they were actively looking for bargain stocks. Approximately 11% of respondents said they were planning on adding more dividend-paying stocks. ■