Sunday, November 25, 2007

VWSI Holds at Zero in Advance of Black Friday Data

It was a quiet week in Lake VIXbegone. Very quiet. So quiet, in fact, that the VWSI remained stuck on a zero reading for the second week in a row and the VIX gained only 0.47 points or 1.8%, the fourth lowest weekly change all year.

As is my new custom, I look to Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture to sum up the week that was and the week that will be:

Consumers were apparently keen on snapping up bargains on Black Friday, where sales were up 8.3% over last year and followed through on Saturday, with sales up 5.4% versus the previous post-Thanksgiving Saturday. The combined Friday-Saturday statistics show a 7.2% increase in sales over 2006, with a 4.8% increase in traffic more than making up for a 3.5% decline in purchases per person.

Whether the surprising strength in consumer spending will take some of the momentum away from the bears remains to be seen, but my personal bias is slightly bullish going into the week, despite the weakness in a number of technical indicators.

(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 zero, I have heretofore been recommending a variety of inexpensive blends. Just this week I enjoyed the 2005 Trentadue Old Patch Red. This berry explosion is an unusual blend of 70% zinfandel, 20% petite sirah, 5.5% carignane and 4.5% syrah. Surprisingly, the petite sirah comes through as dominant, with the zinfandel playing a rare secondary role, with the exception of what I thought was a touch of residual sugar in the finish. This is a fun wine to drink and at $12 at my local wine store, worth seeking out.

Previous recommendations for a VWSI of zero have included Brassfield Serenity, as well as a wide variety of Rhone blends.

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