One of the things that we expect from market tops is an excessive amount of bullishness. However, that is not what we see in the most recent AAII Investor Sentiment Survey.

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research
Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research

The chart above from Bank of America Merrill Lynch shows the bulls-to-bears ratio. The ratio is far below the levels that it regularly registers even as the market reaches new highs. In fact, the ratio is close to the lower end of its range.

How we can square this lack of optimism with the warnings about the imminent end of the bull market?

If you care to explain the lack of bullishness, please send me an e-mail (my address is listed below). If I get enough compelling explanations, I will try to address them in another post.

To contact the author of this article: Barry Ritholtz at britholtz3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Alex Bruns at abruns@bloomberg.net.