Bulls Tame, Bears in the Game

The bears hold a slight edge in our latest sentiment survey as European debt fears swirl.
Author:
Publish date:

Updated from 5 a.m. EDT

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- That European-debt crisis stuff has become too much for the bulls to take as our latest sentiment survey finds the bears with a slight edge as a new trading week begins.

As of 6 a.m. Monday, poll participants who were bearish racked up 44.7%, or 609 votes out of a total 1,362 votes cast in TheStreet.com's RealMoney Barometer Poll. Bulls scored 561 votes, or 41.2% of the total, while survey-takers who were neutral racked up 192 votes, or 14%.

While the edge to the bears may only be slight, it nonetheless marks a sentiment change from most of our recent surveys.

Asian stocks fell hard Monday as investors remain unconvinced that a $1 trillion bailout package will keep a sovereign debt crisis from spreading from Greece to other European countries. Stocks in Shanghai plunged 5.1%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong and the Nikkei 225 stock average in Tokyo slid 2.2%. European stocks were higher.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, in an interview with German newspaper

Der Spiegel

, said Europe's economy "is in its most difficult situation since World War II or perhaps even since World War I."

It's also clear that earnings reports from corporate giants such as

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

,

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

and

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

will be taking a backseat this week to these swirling European debt fears.

Precious metals, as has been the case recently, was seen by poll participants as the sector most likely to rise this week. And true to recent form, commercial banks was viewed as the sector most likely to decline.

> > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll

The poll closes at 9:15 a.m.

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

It's been another week of non-stop news developments in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Yet among all the twists and turns involving the oil giants and politicians, one theme remained consistent:

BP

(BP) - Get Report

fails in each and every effort to contain the worsening disaster, whether it's the environmental, economic, public relations or political aspect.

Soon enough, it might not be a matter of success or failure in BP's battle against environmental disaster, but just which BP failure is the worst among all the available choices: the oil giant's inability to slow the oil spill, its public relations gaffes, the share decline that BP is racking up for shareholders each day it can't get a grip on the leaking underwater well, or the long-term bill that BP will face as a result of all the damage?

Indeed, it all begs the question,

Do you think BP will get the upper hand on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill before it becomes the worst oil spill in U.S. history?

And so, after the failure of the massive dome at the end of the last week, we asked

TheStreet

readers this very question -- and the question is still, if not even more, prescient now.

Yet the results were somewhat surprising. Even amid all of BP's failures -- both technical and public relations-wise -- the survey respondents still have faith in BP to avert the worst oil spill in the history of the U.S.

Approximately 58% of survey respondents said that BP would act in time to insure that the Exxon Valdez disaster would still wear the crown as the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

>>Click here for full results and analysis of our BP stock poll

This week we asked

TheStreet

readers whether they had a buy, sell or hold view on

Sirius XM

(SIRI) - Get Report

stock, in light of the mixed analysts reports that came out after the company's first-quarter earnings call.

Which analyst view of Sirius XM do you agree with the most?,

we asked. Out of more than 2,500 votes, 76.8% went for the buy rating, 18.3% went for the hold rating and a mere 4.8% went to the sell rating.

In light of this, we went back to some of the analysts who cover Sirius XM for their reactions on the results.

"That's an interesting outcome, but not altogether surprising," John Hain of Barrington Research said of the poll results. "Sirius XM has a bit of a reputation as being a 'retail darling.' That is to say, retail investors love it."

>>Click here for full results and analysis of our Sirius XM stock poll

Mystery has been a primary character in some of the biggest recent news headlines. Whether the mystery is the primary cause of the

BP

(BP) - Get Report

oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, or the "flash crash" of the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, there's been no shortage of theories to explain the events, just a dearth of concrete proof to wrap up these investigations.

In the case of the Dow's "flash crash," the press has been busy assigning blame in the past week, after the

NYSE Euronext

(NYX)

and

Nasdaq OMX Group

I:IXIC

tired of pointing the finger at each other.

We decided to ask readers of

TheStreet

what they thought? Were they fat-finger conspiracy theorists? Did they believe one of those pesky hedge funds must be behind the market crash as hedge funds always cause everything that goes wrong in the markets that isn't the fault of Goldman Sachs? Was it simply the fact that the electronic trading systems and dark pools and high frequency traders have turned the markets into an unpredictable machine that has a mind of its own beyond the ability of any man, regulator, or press outlet to figure out?

We tried to word the question a little simpler than all that, asking,

What is the cause of the latest wild turn in recent equity markets trading?

The results of the survey were both expected, and alarming. The fat finger of accusation was aimed squarely at the complex maze of electronic trading systems and financial algorithms that make the days of stock ticker tapes and E.F Hutton seem like a halcyon era of market innocence.

Approximately 35% of survey respondents said that the "flash crash" was simply a function of the machines run amok, choking on their own algorithms and spitting out market insanity.

>>Click here for full results and analysis of our "Flash Crash" poll

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

Copyright 2010 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.