According to the recent TIM (Trade Ideas Monitor) report for the week of September 18-24, 2009, bullish broker sentiment continued to decrease. The TIM Sentiment Index (TSI) was down 1.74 points in North America to 51.05, slightly bullish (see previous post and the youDevise website for additional information on the TIM report). The TSI Worldwide Index was down 5.14 points to 47.58. Total new long ideas as a percentage of all new ideas sent to investment managers by way of the TIM decreased 6.31 points to 62.05%.

As for individual securities in the U.S. and North America, King Pharmaceuticals (KG), American International Group (AIG), and E*Trade Financial (ETFC) were stocks with long broker sentiment, while YUM Brands (YUM), MetroPCS Communications (PCS), and AK Steel Holdings (AKS) had short broker sentiment. In general, the information technology, health care, and financial sectors had long broker sentiment, while the materials and utilities sectors had short broker sentiment.

First Coverage's weekly market sentiment report is still pointing to a bullish market (First Coverage). This week has seven sectors rated bullish, with three, including basic materials, consumer goods, and energy (oil and gas) rated neutral. The weekly sentiment change has basic materials moving more bearish from last week with a 10.9% decline in sentiment (although still neutral), while health care has become more bullish. The financial sector has also failed to roll over, indicating that the sell-side has still not yet gone bearish, even with the big run-up in this sector over the last six months. Stocks generating the greatest bullish sentiment shifts include Thoratec (THOR), ConAgra Foods (CAG), Potash (POT), Dell (DELL), and Netflix (NFLX). Those stocks generating the greatest bearish sentiment shift include Vulcan Materials (VMC), Bio Ref Labs (BRLI), Iteration Energy (ITX), Bill Barrett (BBG), and PNC Financial Services (PNC).

Global X Funds has filed a prospectus with the SEC to offer six new ETFs that will be designed to follow six different sectors within the Chinese economy (IndexUniverse). The six sectors/categories include consumer, energy, financial, industrial, material, and technology. The plan is for the funds to be 80% invested in ADRs and Global Depository Receipts, with the remaining 20% invested in swaps and various options contracts. The fund hopes to replicate the underlying FTSE sector-specific indexes with a 95% accuracy after fees and expenses. While there are many funds that follow the broader Chinese economy, the new ETFs will be some of the first to allow investors to focus on a specific sector within this region. The fact that such sector-specific ETFs are being offered for the Chinese economy also tells you something about demand and interest for investing more directly within this growing and increasing influential market.

Quant funds who bet on high-quality stocks, while at the same time shorting those stocks that are over-priced, have been under-performing the stock market (WSJ). This under-performance has come in part as a result of poor balance sheet stocks being pulled along by the momentum train of the last few months. The performance gap has even widening recently as short squeezes have pushed weak stocks higher, just as those with brighter prospects have done worse. Some feel that the under-performance of higher quality stocks may be an indication that the recent move is running out of steam, and that the market may be due for a correction. Breadth and other overbought/oversold indicators continue to flirt at times with high levels and cause concern among the bulls - but then again, they did so one month ago as well. Nonetheless, a correction, even if mild and short-term, could be in the cards as it seems an increasing number of participants have started watching and waiting for their overbought biases to be confirmed, including some of those who continue to be long in the market. Time will tell, but the next month could be interesting, and telling, as we move into October.