After the Standard & Poor's 500 index ended the first half of 2013 up 12.63%, P&I Online readers are more bullish than ever in their expectations for the index.
Ninety-four percent of readers responding to a poll the week of July 1 believe the S&P 500 will end the year in positive territory, up from 86% in January.
About 54% of readers believe the S&P 500 will end up 5% to 15% compared with 57.8% in January. While the 5% to 15% answer remained the favorite, the most notable change is in the number of readers who believe the index will exceed 15% for the year. More than 30% of readers now believe the S&P 500 will end the year up more than 15%. Previously only 10.7% of readers thought the index would close up more than 15%.
Only 9.5% of July respondents thought the index would see a modest gain of up to 5%, down from January's 16.7%.
The bears retreated from the poll as only 2.6% of respondents thought the index would drop by less than 5%, another 2.6% thought the index would drop 5% to 15% and less than one percent thought the index would drop more than 15%.
Even in January, few respondents believed the S&P 500 would experience a mauling in 2013, as only 3.7% believed the index would fall more than 15%. Most bears were far more modest: 6.3% believed the exchange would drop less than 5% and 4.8% believed the index would drop 5% to 15%.
Last year, the S&P 500 posted a total return of 15.89%.