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Updated from 5 a.m. EDT



) --

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Report

last week, the

Federal Reserve

this week -- there's always a headwind that some believe will put an end to this stock market run.

That end, however, won't take place this week if our sentiment survey is right.

As of 6:30 a.m. Monday, poll participants who were bullish tallied 588, or 62.3%, of the 944 votes cast in's RealMoney Barometer Poll. Bears scored 240 votes, or 25.4% of the total, while survey-takers who were neutral racked up 116 votes, or 12.3%.

Premarket futures were reflecting that bullish sentiment suggesting stocks would open higher Monday on Wall Street.


shares tanked two Fridays ago when news of the

Securities and Exchange Commission's

investigation of the firm was announced. Goldman

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delivered impressive first-quarter earnings

last week, driven by surging trading revenue, but the stock closed the week down 2% as concerns remained over the SEC's civil fraud charges against the company.

The Fed meets this week and its rate decision will be released at 2:15 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The fed funds rate is expected to remain unchanged, but as usual the statement from the Fed's policy-making committee will be parsed to determine if the Fed has tweaked its stance of keeping rates low for an extended period of time.

First-quarter earnings season thus far has been strong with few disappointments and the belief is that they'll continue in that way. The week kicks off with reports Monday from


(CAT) - Get Caterpillar Inc. Report


Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Texas Instruments Incorporated Report



(HUM) - Get Humana Inc. Report

, which said first-quarter earnings rose 26%.

Partly due those robust earnings, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

finished last week with its eighth-straight weekly rise. The Dow rose 1.7% last week, the

S&P 500

rose 2.1% and the


composite index gained 2%.

The commercial bank sector was chosen as the sector most likely to rise this week by poll participants. It also was viewed as the sector most likely to decline. Airlines also were seen declining. The

Wall Street Journal

reports Monday that


( UAUA) United Airlines and

Continental Airlines

(CAL) - Get Caleres, Inc. Report

are continuing to talk merger, but there are disagreements over the share price to use for the stock-swap deal.

> > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll

The poll closes at 9:15 a.m.

Here's a wrap-up of our other polls:


(C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report

is going to be OK: The ayes have it.

On a week when the troubled megabank held its

annual meeting


reported first-quarter results

that surprised the land with their robustness, we asked readers of


if this meant that

Citigroup had found its footing

, turned the corner, taken leave of the woods.

The long and the short of it: Citigroup chieftain Vikram Pandit continues with his long-term project to sell off assets and business segments, retire debt, and scale down the balance sheet. But the central-most concern remains: How will Citigroup continue cutting back on leverage -- the very engine that powers banking profits, even post-crisis -- and, at the same time, register earnings growth that will satisfy investors?

Survey-takers, for their part, are an optimistic bunch -- as well as, most likely, Citigroup shareholders. Whatever the case, the results were overwhelming. Of the roughly 1,500 votes in our poll, a whopping 1,200, or 81%, believe that the worst is over for Citigroup.

As for that other naysaying 19%? Clearly, they're short.

>>Click here for full results and analysis of our Citigroup poll

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Report

may be the first major Wall Street power broker to face fraud charges, but it's not likely to be the last big bank with a target on its head.

With the fears of further legal action potentially holding down valuations in the banking sector -- even amid some fairly healthy earnings reports from the likes of


(C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report



decided to reach out to its bank stock-trading audience and ask for its legal opinion.

Specifically, we asked:

Now that Goldman Sachs has been charged with fraud by the SEC, will other big banks be next?

Regulators in the U.S. and Europe may not have been forthcoming in answering this questions, but


readers were more than willing to express their banking sector worries. Approximately 73% of survey takers said that Goldman will not be the only bank to find itself before a judge before all the regulatory scrutiny of subprime investments ends. Only 27% of survey respondents expect the rest of the usual bank suspects to be largely immune from charges similar to the Goldman Sachs fraud charges.

>>Click here for full results and analysis of our Godlman Sachs poll

Rite Aid

(RAD) - Get Rite Aid Corporation Report

is the most likely takeover target in today's market, according to a recent poll by the



The drugstore has raised eyebrows since



announced its purchase of Duane Reade back in February. The

deal ignited chatter of other possible buyouts in the sector


According to


poll, 60% said Rite Aid will be bought out within the next year.


( PALM) is also being bandied about as a potential takeover target, with


emerging this week as the lead suitor. Still, just 15.4% of voters believe a deal for Palm will get done.

>>Click here for full results and analysis of our takeover targets poll

As the country's economists continue to debate whether the recession has in fact ended, we turned to our own panels of economic experts: the readers of the



Members of the National Bureau of Economic Research, after a meeting on April 8, decided to forego certifying a "trough date" for the recession that technically began in December 2007. So we took the question to


, asking

Do you think the recession is over?"

The overwhelming majority, or 73.7%, of readers answered with a resounding "no;" the remaining 26.3% answered, "yes."

>>Click here for full results and analysis of our recession poll

In mid-April we presented he readers of



a platter of consumer goods stocks

worth watching as the consumer community continues to show signs of rebounding.

We wanted to know which consumer goods stocks you,



, think will outperform the sector in the coming quarter


The poll results show that you think most highly of

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson Report

, which garnered 28.2% of the votes. The company recently lowered its full-year guidance, even as it reported a better-than-expected first quarter; but many market observers still believe that

J&J is a good investment thesis


"The stock is trading at 13 times 2010 earnings and 12 times 2011 earnings for single-digit growth, so

something has to give

," Brian Gilmartin, founder and portfolio manager at Trinity Asset Management, wrote last Tuesday on


Trailing J&J in the poll was


(PG) - Get Procter & Gamble Company Report

, which garnered 20.3% of the votes.

>>Click here for full results and analysis of our consumer goods poll

--Written by Joseph Woelfel and Ty Wenger in New York.