Updated from 5:38 p.m. ET to include an updated share price for Cisco's stock in after-hours action and analyst commentary on the Fed minutes.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The bulls have been in control for the majority of 2012 but it's getting increasingly difficult to stay optimistic these days.
Especially after an ugly finish like the one witnessed on Wall Street Tuesday.
And right on time, the latest fund manager survey conducted by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch was a bit of mixed bag itself. The growth outlook jumped (a good thing) but there was also a warning signal to deal with as stocks tend to underperform bonds whenever the smart money embraces equities."While the fiscal cliff is viewed as by far the biggest tail risk, investor sentiment had clearly become more optimistic on growth & risk in recent weeks," B of A said of the poll's findings. "In the November FMS [fund manager survey] global growth expectations rose to 18-month high, China growth optimism exploded to 3-year highs and hedge fund net exposure to stocks rose to its highest (40%) since Jun'07." The survey involved 248 participants with roughly $695 billion worth of assets under management with responses logged between Nov. 2-8. B of A noted the majority of respondents proffered their answers before the Nov. 6 presidential election. While noting that cash holdings still remain at around average levels, B of A said it believes "some market caution is in order" precisely because the hedgies have augmented the stock component of their portfolios. "Since 2007, whenever HF [hedge fund] exposure has exceeded 35%, SPX [the S&P 500] has underperformed Treasuries by 700 basis points in the following month," B of A said. As for Wednesday's scheduled news, Staples (SPLS) is reporting its third-quarter results before the opening bell, and the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for a profit of 45 cents a share in the October-ended period on revenue of $6.45 billion. Shares of the Framingham, Mass.-based office products retailer are down roughly 11% so far this year. The stock closed Tuesday at $11.25, down 33.5% since hitting a 52-week high of $16.93 on March 20. The sell side is bearish ahead of the print with 14 of the 20 analysts covering Staples at hold (11), underperform (2), or sell (1) with the 12-month median price target sitting at $12.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV