Trading Nation

This is 'the most worrying thing out there': Trader

Bears go into hibernation
Bears go into hibernation

Stock market bears appear to be heading into hibernation. And that makes one professional trader anxious about the next move for the market.

According to the latest survey results from the American Association of Individual Investors, the percentage of investors who believe that stock prices will fall over the next six months has plunged by 13 percentage points to 22 percent, which is the lowest reading since February.

In a separate take on sentiment, MKM derivatives strategist Jim Strugger wrote Thursday that "options market positioning and our general anecdotal sense of activity suggest that equity risk is at its most asymmetric point in a long while."

"Hedging," Strugger declared, "is a four-letter word."

Ironically, that lack of concern is one of the few things that does concern Boris Schlossberg, a macro trader and strategist with BK Asset Management.

"You know the old saying, 'A bull market climbs a wall of worry'? We're not seeing any worry at all in almost any of the indices, and that is itself the most worrying thing there is right now to take a look at," Schlossberg said.

"At this point, it's not that the sentiment itself is going to create any kind of downdraft," Schlossberg added. "But if we have any sort of negative news catalyst, that could be the reason for why we have a pretty severe correction."

In other words, since so few expect to see any serious downside at all, a market drop could be met with a sudden surge of panic-induced selling.

Referring specifically to the "bouncing ball that is Greece," Strugger wrote that "With investors conditioned to believe that every risk event is accompanied by a safety net, the outcome seems preordained."

Schlossberg's point is that if the net somehow disappears, the move to the downside could be swift and painful.

The fact that the retail investor "has become so complacent is clearly a yellow flashing signal," Schlossberg said.

However, Piper Jaffray technical analyst Craig Johnson says that from his perspective, there is still "a lot of nervousness out there," at least among institutional investors.

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