The Sentiment Signals We're Watching

By Lori Calvasina
Published May 3, 2022 | 8 min read

This week in the podcast we tackle the topic of investor sentiment, which has been back in focus given the S&P 500’s recent decline. The big things you need to know: First, the 13.9% drawdown in place at Friday’s close is near the range of prior growth scares, but our growth scare framework points to possible downside in the S&P 500 to 3,850 even with no recession if the Friday low doesn’t hold. Second, net bullishness on the AAII retail investor survey broke to a new post-Financial Crisis low last week, a contrarian buy signal for stocks on a 12-month forward basis. Third, positioning among asset managers in US equity futures hasn’t been quite as extreme, which suggests that institutional investor sentiment still needs to catch down to retail investors. Fourth, other widely watched fear gauges, the VIX and equity put/call ratio have moved up, another longer-term contrarian buy signal for stocks, but don’t look extreme yet. Overall, we think the data continues to paint a picture of extreme fear and a contrarian opportunity for longer-term investors, even though there is scope for further movement/more downside in the very near term on some gauges.

Disclosures and Disclaimers

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Lori Calvasina

Lori Calvasina
Managing Director & Head of U.S. Equity Strategy, RBC Capital Markets

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