Given the stock market's robust second quarter, which ended meekly on Monday, you'd expect market participants to be downright giddy. Judging by most sentiment surveys, the majority are quite ebullient. But such indicators belie an undercurrent of skepticism; certainly there is a sense the postwar rally has largely run its course.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange put/call ratio crept as high as 0.99 intraday Monday before settling at 0.92 vs. 0.70 a week ago. Last week, the major exchanges separately reported that total short interest rose in the past month. In Nasdaq activity, short interest was 4.5 million shares in mid-June vs. 4.3 million in May, while NYSE short interest rose to over 8 million shares from under 7.9 million in May. Meanwhile, put activity in the Nasdaq 100 Unit Trust ( QQQ) continues to be among the most active options.

In other words, if "everyone" is bullish, many are of the hedged/one-eye-on-the-exit kinda bullish vs. the unabashed/pedal-to-the-metal variety. Such skittishness is reflected in the predominance of bears in surveys by RealMoney.com and LowRisk.com. Arguably, sentiment among those trader-oriented surveys could be taken at face value. That's in contrast to the contrarian signals being given by overriding bullishness among surveys by Chartcraft.com's Investors Intelligence and the American Association of Individual Investors.

All this is a somewhat roundabout way of saying many presumably savvy traders are expecting more weakness ahead after the stellar second quarter, during which the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 12.5%, the S&P 500 gained 15% -- its best quarter since 1998's final stanza, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 21%.

Whether that expectation proves to be a contrarian indicator remains to be seen, but some of the reasons cited for caution are obvious. These include: The market rallied a long way in a short time; there's no sin in taking profits (for those sitting on them); second-quarter earnings and, more especially, third-quarter guidance, may prove disappointing.

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