Stocks in the 7th or 8th inning of downturn, but not the 9th -strategist

STORY: Individual investor pessimism over the short-term direction of the U.S. stock market fell to the lowest level in more than seven months in the latest American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) Sentiment Survey.

Bearish sentiment, or expectations that stock prices will fall over the next six months, fell 12.8 percentage points to 32.9%. Pessimism was last lower on March 31 (27.5%), AAII reported.

Even with the drop, bearish sentiment remains above its historical average of 30.5% for the 49th time out of the past 50 weeks, according to the report.

At the same time, bullish sentiment, or expectations that stock prices will rise over that period, increased by 4.0 percentage points to 30.6%, AAII reported. Even with that increase, bullish sentiment is still its historical average of 38.0% for the 50th consecutive week.