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When Wall Street’s Bullish, Investors Head for the Exits

This article was posted on Mar 22, 2012 and is filed under Market News

All of Wall Street’s wildly bullish calls on stocks may be having just the opposite effect, driving wary mom-and-pop investors out of the market despite the long-standing rally.

After all, they’ve been down this road before: One big-name analyst after another advocates a buy, buy and buy some more strategy, only to see a bubble burst that ends up trapping late-to-the-game individual investors.

True to form, Wall Street’s biggest investment houses have been marching to the podium with avid encouragement to put money to work.

Goldman Sachs’ Peter Oppenheimer drew headlines Wednesday for releasing a note in which he says stocks are presenting a once-in-a-generation buying opportunity. Similarly, Bank of America and Credit Suisse recently have taken up their full-year projections for the Standard & Poor’s 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC – News). JPMorgan Chase has remained strongly bullish, and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink several weeks ago said investors should have a total allocation to stocks.

The admonitions haven’t worked among retail investors.

In just the last week alone investors pulled another $126 million out of stock-based mutual funds and shoveled $10.7 billion into bond mutual funds, according to the Investment Company Institute.

The total outflow from stock funds was comparatively small to recent weeks, but the move is significant in that U.S-based stock funds, despite a stunning gain of more than 30 percent off the October lows, lost nearly $1.4 billion.

“There’s a feeling that another shoe is going to drop somewhere, and they don’t want to be caught in a situation where they can’t get out,” says Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Annuities in Newark, N.J. “What they don’t want to get involved in is some trap that is being set by hedge funds or asset managers to get in so (the managers) can get out.”

Retail investors can be forgiven for feeling a little shell-shocked.

They just survived a decade in which two major bubbles popped – the dotcom mania and the subprime mortgage frenzy – and they worry that the stock market now is being fueled again by easy money from the Federal Reserve that ultimately will run out and leave them holding the bag.

“A lot of people are very skeptical. Look how wrong these guys were last year,” says Kathy Boyle, president of Chapin Hill Advisors in New York. “The average individual is feeling there’s a lot of propaganda going on.” To continue reading, click here:

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