This article appeared at 10:09 a.m. EDT on RealMoney Sept. 3.
Helene looks at the charts and, over the years I've tracked her, she has been among the most sober market watchers I've known.
Enter her comments:
"Last week, when the American Association of Individual Investors' weekly survey came out, we saw that bulls had reached their highs since Christmas week. One week later, the S&P peaked and had a few percentage points correction.
"This particular survey, in my view, is less like investors and more like a bunch of day traders, the way it jumps around. For this reason I prefer to have some sort of confirmation from another sentiment indicator. Typically, I look to the Investors Intelligence weekly survey since, unlike the AAII poll, the same number of folks are polled each week and they are the same people as well. It also does not jump around like a bunch of day traders.
"In the last 25 years, when we've seen the II poll reach over 60% bulls, we have seen a correction of some sort in the market thereafter. In 2014 that occurred in early January -- to confirm the AAII poll from Christmas week -- and again in July. Both times the market corrected. This week's reading is still 'only' 56% so it's not yet over 60%. The eye opener however is the bears at 13.2%. I have been keeping this data since the 1980s and have a spreadsheet with data back to 1992, and have never seen so few bears.