A July measure of investor sentiment climbed back up to levels not seen in several months, as new all-time highs were hit by major indexes including the S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite and Dow Jones Industrials.
The measure, from the online brokerage firm TD Ameritrade, showed the firms' clients increasing their exposure in the stock market recently, following the relatively flat months of April through June.
Called the Investor Movement Index, the measure hit 5.85, which was near the March 2014 high of 5.87 and the second-highest reading since its inception in 2010.
Among the more sought-after stocks by TD clients during July were GoPro (NASDAQ: GPRO), which held its IPO at the end of June, Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD) Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) and Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM).
Although clients were net buyers overall, both the technology and financial sectors were net sold. Many clients dumped shares of Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), CISCO Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). Selling activity in the financial sector included Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Citigroup (NYSE: C).
In contrast to Ameritrade's monthly measurement, Merrill Lynch recently released its gauge of investor sentiment for July.
Merrill's July Sell Side Indicator fell to 52.2 from 54.1 in June. A Merrill analyst said bearish sentiment is a contrarian indicator and took the company's measure as a good signal to buy stocks.
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