May 4, 2000

The bearish comments are coming from everywhere these days, with

Goldman Sachs

the most vocal.

Oh, I'll bet that if you asked those research folks at Goldman if they were bearish, they would say no (being bearish is bad for business). But just watch what they've done over the past month or so. First

Abby Cohen

cautioned us on technology. Then she lowered the equity portion of the model portfolio. Then Rick Sherlund dinged


(MSFT) - Get Report

. And now their retail folks are putting the kibosh on the likes of


(WMT) - Get Report


Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report


(I'd like to say right here and now that both Abby's call and Rick's were right on the money, so I'm not poking fun at them, I'm just trying to show the quick shift in sentiment that's taken place since March).

Then there are the bearish comments coming every which way about the


. A few months back, everyone was mad at

Alan Greenspan

because they thought he didn't need to raise rates, yet he kept on doing it. He called it preemptive; everyone else called it attacking the stock market. Now it seems folks will be annoyed if he doesn't raise by 50 basis points at the next meeting! They're saying he'll be behind the curve.

And then there is the telling shift in the

Investor's Intelligence

figures that were released yesterday. The bulls are now weighing in at 47.6%. That's down from a peak reading of 56.9% just three short weeks ago. I am of the opinion that sentiment is moving in the right direction, but it still has further to go. You can see from the bullish percentage chart that really good bottoms come when the bulls are under 40% and we're just not there yet.

Bearishness is typically pervasive at a bottom. No, we're not there yet, but if this sentiment continues to pick up steam in the manner in which it has, then we're heading in that direction.

Investor's Intelligence Bullish Percentage

Investor's Intelligence Bearish Percentage

Overbought/Oversold Oscillators

Helene Meisler, based in Singapore, writes a technical analysis column on the U.S. equity markets on Tuesdays and Fridays, and updates her charts daily on Meisler trained at several Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs and Cowen, and has worked with the equity trading department at Cargill. At time of publication, she was long Microsoft, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. She appreciates your feedback at