AAII: The American Association of Individual Investors

AAII Investor Sentiment Survey

Since 1987, AAII members have been answering the same simple question each week:


Do you feel the direction of the market over the next six months will be up (bullish), no change (neutral) or down (bearish)?


The results are compiled into the AAII Investor Sentiment Survey,
which offers insight into the mood of individual investors.

Survey Results for Week Ending 3/22/2017

Data represents what direction members feel the
stock market will be in next 6 months.

Percentage point
change from
last week
Percentage point
change from
last week
Percentage point
change from
last week

Note: Numbers may not add up to 100% because of rounding.

The AAII Investor Sentiment Survey has become a widely followed measure of the mood of individual investors. The weekly survey results are published in financial publications including Barron's and Bloomberg and are widely followed by market strategists, investment newsletter writers and other financial professionals.

AAII Sentiment Survey:

Neutral sentiment rose to its highest level since mid-February as pessimism fell for a second consecutive week.

Pessimism among individual investors is down for the second consecutive week, according to the latest AAII Sentiment Survey. At the same time, neutral sentiment is now at its highest level since mid-February.

Bullish sentiment, expectations that stock prices will rise over the next six months, rose 4.1 percentage points to 35.3%. The historical average is 38.5%.

Neutral sentiment, expectations that stock prices will stay essentially unchanged over the next six months, rose 4.1 percentage points to 34.2%. The increase puts neutral sentiment back above its historical average of 31.0% for the first time in five weeks.

Bearish sentiment, expectations that stock prices will fall over the next six months, plunged 8.2 percentage points to 30.5%. Pessimism was last lower on February 8, 2017 (27.7%). This is the ninth week in the past 10 with a bearish sentiment at or above its historical average of 30.5%.

After reaching an unusually high level of 46.5% two weeks ago, pessimism has pulled back by a cumulative 16.0 percentage points. At the same time, neutral sentiment has rebounded by a cumulative 10.7 percentage points. Neutral sentiment had fallen to near the bottom of its typical range, having registered 23.5% on March 8, 2017. It is worth noting that despite these shifts, pessimism is currently right at its historical average while optimism remains below its historical average.

Some individual investors view last week's rate hike by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) as a positive, though have not changed their outlook in response, as the answers to this week's special question show. The speed and the extent of the post-election rally and the prevailing level of valuations remain a point of concern. At the same time, the potential impact that President Trump could have on the domestic and global economy continues to cause uncertainty or concern among some investors, while encouraging others.

This week's special question asked AAII members how the FOMC’s raising of interest rates has impacted their market outlook. Approximately 60% of respondents said that the rate hikes are having no or very little impact on their outlook and/or their portfolio decisions. Many of these respondents said that last week's announcement by the Federal Open Market Committee was expected or otherwise already priced in. Several others said interest rates still remain too low. About 19% have a positive view, saying that the tightening cycle expresses confidence in the economy and/or is a sign of economic growth. Just 6% view the rate hike as a negative for stocks.

Here is a sampling of the responses:

  • "Rising interest rates have been expected for quite some time, so no surprise."
  • “I want to purchase some higher-yielding CDs, so waiting for that. No impact on my market outlook.”
  • "Not at all. I view it as a return to normal."
  • "Confirmed improving economy. Slow raises should be of benefit to equity growth.”
  • "It's made my outlook, short-term, a bit more bearish as the market digests what looks like three interest rate hikes."

To keep reading »

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How to Use the AAII Sentiment Survey as a Gauge of Future Market Direction

Over the years, AAII analysts have examined the weekly results and have tried to give some perspective to the data. These articles are the results of some of this analysis.

Analyzing the AAII Sentiment Survey Without Hindsight »
Using the AAII Sentiment Survey as a Contrarian Indicator »

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