NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Friday's rally was enough to make it an up week for the S&P 500, the third in a row, but investors weren't completely on board with the positive vibes.

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In fact, in keeping with the many intraday reversals we've seen of late, many on Main Street decided they weren't so sure which way stocks are heading next over the next few quarters.



The results of the American Association of Independent Investors' weekly sentiment survey showed the neutral camp siphoning off allegiance from both the bulls and the bears.

For the week ended on Wednesday, 29.4% of respondents said they were neutral about the direction of the stock market for the next six months, up 5.5 percentage points from last week but still below the long-term average of 31%. The AAII has roughly 150,000 members but doesn't disclose how many participate in the survey each week.

The split for the rest of the poll was 36% bullish, down 3.8 percentage points, and 34.6% bearish, a decline of 1.8 percentage points from last week. Those numbers compare to historical averages of 39% and 30%, respectively.

The ongoing drama in Europe of course is likely the main contributor to the uncertainty. The region's leaders have been trying to get together on a comprehensive plan to address sovereign debt problems but the prospects for such a deal seem to change from headline to headline.

The pressure in this case is really on Germany and France, whose leaders have said they are targeting this coming Wednesday to have a definitive plan to increase Europe's bailout fund in place. Until that happens, the sidelines may get even more crowded. Friday's rally was impressive but likely inflated a bit by shortcovering after the S&P 500 was able to push through resistance at 1220.

Anyone who's been watching the market since August knows how quickly the major U.S. equity indices have shown they can snap back one way or the other. If Europe's stablization plans start showing cracks again over the weekend, stocks could very well give it all back on Monday.

Aside from Europe's lingering question marks, next week is another super-heavy stretch for earnings, which have been just so-so. The banks have done better than expected but no one was expecting much in the first place, so it's relative, while Apple's ( AAPL) understandable miss and a pedestrian quarter from IBM ( IBM) took some of the zing out of fairly good results so far from the tech sector.

According to Thomson Reuters, the blended estimate of earnings growth for the S&P 500 in the calendar third quarter has risen to 14.7% from 13.1% on Oct. 3. The blended view takes into account the current consensus estimates as well as reported results. Of the 133 companies in the index that have reported so far, 68% have topped the consensus view.

Next week, another 189 S&P 500 companies are scheduled to open their books, including 8 Dow components. Headliners include Caterpillar ( CAT), Texas Instruments ( TXN), and Netflix ( NFLX) on Monday; Amazon.com ( AMZN), DuPont ( DD), and 3M ( MMM) on Tuesday; Northrop-Grumman ( NOC), Lockheed Martin ( LMT), Visa ( V), Boeing ( BA), Ford Motor ( F) and Sprint Nextel ( S) on Wednesday; Procter & Gamble ( PG), Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD), Exxon Mobil ( XOM), and Altria ( MO) on Thursday; and Whirlpool ( WHR), Chevron ( CVX), Merck ( MRK), and Weyerhaeuser ( WY) on Friday.

Thomson Reuters, using its Starmine data research, lists Amazon.com, Ford, Boeing, Electronic Arts ( ERTS), Goodyear ( GT), and Aetna ( AET) among the companies that may surprise to the upside.

It sees Legg Mason ( LM), Masco ( MAS), MetLife ( MET), United States Steel ( X) and AK Steel ( AKS) as vulnerable to missing the consensus view.

-- Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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