Professional investors and the mom-and-pop crowd have developed a starkly different view about which way stocks are heading.
The pros are strongly bullish while the retail side is at its most pessimistic in nearly two years, according to separate investor sentiment surveys that paint a puzzling picture of the market climate. (Tweet this)
In the most recent Investors Intelligence survey, the percentage of those bullish actually increased to 56.6 percent from 52 percent in the previous week's sampling period. That contrasted against just 14.1 percent on the bearish side, a number that has remained pretty constant over the past four weeks.
Investor Intelligence takes the temperature of newsletter authors and is thus considered a gauge of professionals.
In contrast, the American Association of Individual Investors survey showed bulls all the way down to 27.2 percent. That number was the worst since April 2013, just as the S&P 500 was setting up for a dip of more than 7 percent in only a month's time. That bullish reading was off 4.4 percentage points from the previous week's reading.
AAII bears—or those who believe the index will be below its current level in six months—increased to 31.5 percent, a gain of 6.1 percentage points. Neutral sentiment fell 1.6 percentage points to 41.4 percent, well above its historical norm of 30.5 percent.