There isn't much to say about the stock market besides one indisputable fact: it has been on a record run. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has remained above 21,000 points for weeks now, the Nasdaq has yet to dip below the 6,000 mile marker since it surpassed the threshold back in April and the S&P 500 has been trading above its 2016 peak all year.
Yet despite the bulls charging hard - which they've been doing for eight consecutive years - investors are more pessimistic than optimistic that the successful stretch is here to stay, according to a recent poll.
Slight majority uneasy about stock market strength
Fifty-one percent of investors say they're somewhat trepidatious about the record highs the stock market has been experiencing in 2017, a recent survey conducted by the American Association of Individual Investors showed. The reasons why are numerous, including some who say that the political winds of uncertainty - in terms of whether proposed policy changes will go into effect - are blowing hard. Around 15 percent of respondents said that the all-time highs weren't influencing their long-term outlook, meaning beyond six months.
"It has not influenced my outlook since I am a steady contributor and am not looking to time the market," one respondent to the AAII poll said. Others noted that instead of making them more bullish about asset allocationand investments, they're more cautious, wondering when the course correction will happen.
But experts seem to be much more accepting of the notion that the record run is more than a flash in a pan. Indeed according to CNBC, economists believe the S&P 500 valuation could rise as much as 5 percent. In an online poll, 43 percent of CNBC respondents said they were bullish about the S&P 500 streak continuing, with just 28 percent thinking it will end sooner rather than later.
In short term, investors slightly more bullish
In a separate poll, also conducted by the AAII, individual investors are divided about the stock market's direction between now and December. Nearly 36 percent of respondents said they're confident stock prices will rise further in the next six months, an 8 percentage point increase from the poll done seven days earlier. Historically, bullish sentiment has been at roughly 38 percent, making this the 20th time in the previous 21 weeks below the average. Meanwhile, bearish sentiment is also trending lower than what is typical, with 29 percent expecting stock prices to slip in the next six month, the AAII survey found. Thirty percent is the historical average.
In the meantime, the good times keep rolling on Wall Street, as record highs are being broken rather consistently. The Dow Jones on June 9 rose to a new peak point, to 21,182.53, according to The Wall Street Journal. It closed eight points above the previous day of trading. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also gained ground, rising to 2,433.79 and 6,321.76, respectively. The Nasdaq jumped 0.4 percent after tacking on 24 points.
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