Investor behavior has been very unusual since the market’s 70% rally began in early March, and if hundreds of billions of dollars of retail investors’ money remains on the sidelines, market volatility or even a bear market could continue, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Rather than follow performance, as investors historically have done, they have invested a mere $7.8 billion in stock funds since March 10, whereas historical patterns would suggest they would have placed $150 billion or more in stock funds. By comparison, between 2002 and 2007 when the market rose, inflows to domestic stock funds topped $250 billion, and between October 2007 and the beginning of March 2008, outflows approached $200 billion.

Ned Davis, president and senior investment strategist of Ned Davis Research, believes investors are largely staying out of the market because they were so badly burned in 2008, and that this skeptical behavior will be a drag on the market’s performance for years to come.

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