Monday, February 4, 2008

VWSI at +1 as Put to Call Numbers Raise Eyebrows

It may sound strange given all the market drama that has played out so far this year, but 2008 has been a relatively uneventful year so far for those who follow the VIX. Sure there was that two day blip where the VIX traded in the mid-30s during January 22-23, but even then the action in the VIX paled in comparison to everything else that was hitting the fan across the investment universe.

Last week was more of the same. The markets bounced, albeit weakly, and the VIX dropped 5.06 points (17.4%) to end the week at 24.02. While the VIX move looks impressive on paper, it merely brought the volatility index right back to the 50 day simple moving average. The VWSI is also largely discounting last week’s drop in the VIX, as it ticked up from zero +1.

As is my weekly custom, for a survey of the best in current thinking about the markets, Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture sums up the week that was and the week that is on tap in his Superbowl Linkfest.

Getting back to the VIX and the VWSI, while these numbers are unremarkable, the action in the ISEE suggests that tectonic forces are indeed at work just under the surface, with the ISEE’s 20 day SMA just missing an all-time low on Friday.

(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 +1, I recommend a guwurztraminer. My favorite American version of this wine is the dry gewurztraminer from Londer Vineyards of Anderson Valley. I have not yet sampled the 2006 vintage, but the 2005 was an unforgettable wine that I would love to see in a blind tasting against some of the top Alsatian competition.

In my previous roundup of California gewurztraminer, I suggested Navarro and Harvest Moon. For some of my top selections from Alsace, check out Trimbach; Hugel; and Domaine Weinbach. You can also check out the top-rated gewurztraminers in the 2007 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

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