Bulls Hold Sentiment Edge: Poll

Coming off Friday's big gains on Wall Street, readers of <I>TheStreet</I>, according to our latest sentiment poll, expect the stock market to continue higher this week.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Coming off Friday's big gains on Wall Street, readers of

TheStreet

expect the stock market to continue higher this week, a week expected to be light on volume as traders take time off before the Labor Day weekend.

As of 5 a.m. EDT Monday,

TheStreet's

Bull vs. Bear poll finds survey-takers who are bullish on stocks this week tallying 313 votes, or 43.5%, of the 719 total votes cast in the poll. Bears came in with 280 votes, or 38.9%, while those neutral on stocks this week were at 126 votes, or 17.5%.

Poll participants expect the precious metals and commercial banks sectors to lead gainers. The homebuilding and metals sectors are forecast to be the biggest losers of the week.

Stocks rose on Friday

as a downward revision to second-quarter gross domestic product wasn't as steep as feared, and after

Federal Reserve

Chairman Ben Bernanke said he expects the economy to improve in 2011 buy would step in if necessary to help lift the economy. Traders also shrugged off a

sales warning

from chipmaker

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

rose 1.7% on Friday to 10,151 after closing Thursday below 10,000 for the first time since July 6. The

S&P 500

and

Nasdaq

also posted gains of 1.7%.

The indices, however, closed lower for the week with the Dow down 0.6%, S&P 500 off 0.7% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lower by 1.2%.

Traders may be away this week, but economic data will be heavy. The week is bookended by the release Monday of July's personal income and spending report and Friday's all-important unemployment report. Economists are forecasting a decline of 118,000 in payrolls, with the unemployment rate expected to rise to 9.6% from 9.5%.

Before the new trading week begins, premarket futures were higher, suggesting Wall Street would rise when the markets open Monday .

Asian stocks ended higher Monday, while European shares as of 5 a.m. also were posting gains. Markets in London were closed for a holiday.

Earnings this week are expected from

H.J. Heinz

(HNZ)

and

Campbell Soup

(CPB) - Get Report

.

In corporate news Monday, Intel said it was

buying the wireless solutions business

of Germany's

Infineon

for about $1.4 billion in cash.

Meanwhile,

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

this week also is expected to respond to

Hewlett-Packard's

(HPQ) - Get Report

increased offer for data-storage company

3Par

(PAR) - Get Report

, which said Friday it had accepted HP's latest bid of $30 a share.

Dell has three business days to respond, and a company spokesman reportedly said over the weekend the

computer maker was pondering making another offer

.

> > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll

The Bull vs. Bear poll closes at 9:15 a.m.

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

Two weeks into the takeover battle between

Potash

(POT)

(the prey) and

BHP Billiton

(BHP) - Get Report

(the predator), one thing is clear: Almost no one believes the world's largest fertilizer producer will remain independent when the drama reaches its denouement.

Almost everyone also expects BHP to raise its offer from an initial $130-per share, or $39 billion. Look no further, of course, than the closing price of Potash stock Friday: $147.73. It gained $2.91 during the session, although it lost 3% for the week.

What remains to be seen is whether a rival (or

group of rivals

) emerges to compete in earnest for Potash, and, barring that, what price BHP will need to bid in order to win over Potash shareholders.

Judging by our

recent Potash-BHP poll

on the matter, readers of

The Street

mostly believe that Kloppers will ultimately be successful in that campaign.

>>BHP Gains Upper Hand in Potash Battle

Still, given the overwhelming assuredness among most professional investors that BHP will successfully acquire Potash, the poll (which has garnered more than 1,000 votes) was perhaps closer than expected. A little more than 58% of the survey's participants believe BHP will eventually subsume Potash. The other 42% either believe Potash will remain Potash, or that BHP will lose out in the bidding to another party.

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

Written by Joseph Woelfel and Ty Wenger in New York

.