Sunday, November 11, 2007

VWSI Hits -9 as VIX Spikes

In a week where technology stocks were hit harder than financials for the first time in a long time, the VXN rose 30.1% while the VIX rose 23.9% or 5.49 points. Coming on the heels of last week’s 17.6% jump in the VIX, this marks only the third time this decade that the VIX has risen 15% or more in two consecutive weeks, with the two previous instances being two weeks in the middle of May 2006 and the two weeks spanning 9/11.

Even with the VIX printing a rare -9 reading (the third -9 in four months, but only the fifth in the past six years) and the NASDAQ registering the biggest weekly drop in five years, the selloff had a relatively orderly feel to it – at least so far. The fact that the VIX is still ten points below its mid-August high suggests a lack of panic, as does the below average fearogram readings for the SPX:VIX ratio on both Thursday and Friday.

In addition to the extra spice of options expiration, next week’s government data includes a hearty broth of October retail sales data (Wednesday), October consumer prices (Thursday), and October’s industrial production and capacity utilization figures. Earnings season continues, with a healthy does of retail and technology earnings on tap as well.

For a comprehensive look back on last week and a glance at what the coming week may have to offer, I recommend the following links from Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture:

While the -9 VWSI reading suggests a likely bounce in the coming week, my Where’s Waldo analysis tells me that long red candles in the NASDAQ rarely trigger bounces in the following week. Given that history, the relative lack of fear in the SPX:VIX ratio, the failure of the ISEE to drop below 100 last week, and several other factors, I enter the week by carrying over my bearish bias. I will be watching closely to see what sort of enthusiasm the bulls put into efforts to establish a bottom and threaten yet another quick retracement. This time around I expect it to be at least as difficult as it was in the summer of 2006 for the bulls to push the markets back to new highs, but…this selloff is still early.

(Note that in the above temperature gauge, the "bullish" and "bearish" labels apply to the VIX, not to the broader markets, which are usually negatively correlated with the VIX.)

Wine pairing: For a VWSI of -9, I continue to recommend carmenere as an ideal pairing. The last time around, I sugested a Concha y Toro 2003 Terrunyo Carmenere, some favorite carmeneres listed at Cellar Tracker, and an American effort at Dover Canyon. For ideas about varietals I do not have a lot of experience with, I often check out what is selling at one of San Francisco’s best wine stores, K&L Wine Merchants. A quick search on their site yields a good number of carmenere blends, as well as several selections where carmenere is the dominant varietal.

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