Monday, March 3, 2008

Put to Calls and TRIN More Skittish than VIX, VWSI

A quick programming note: henceforth, I am going to be a little more freeform with my end of week commentary, making it less VIX and VWSI-centric. Lately the VIX has been at best a sub-plot in the market turmoil and the VWSI has not generated any extreme readings, so I will be expanding my weekly scope to include some of my other favorite indicators: put to call ratios, market breadth data, TRIN numbers, etc. going forward – or whatever else looks to be most newsworthy.

The Wall Street Journal “What’s Hot and Not” graphic shows where the action was last week – and this story is starting to look familiar. Oil, gold and other commodities were the biggest gainers last week, with a weak dollar and a weak US stock market accounting for the biggest losers.

The VIX ended the week up 2.48 (+10.3%) to 26.54, with the VWSI slipping back to zero. More interesting was the action in the put to call data, where the ISEE set all-time records lows for the 20, 50 and 100 day moving averages each day from Tuesday through Friday and the CPCE (CBOE Equity Put to Call Ratio) hit a new high of 1.50. In the wake of Friday’s precipitous drop, the TRIN and NASDAQ TRIN also ended the week with extreme readings of 2.46 and 2.76, respectively.

All this continues to mean one of two things: either the market is extremely oversold and anxious investors are going to create a massive wall of worry for a nice rebound…or we are in the midst of a financial meltdown not seen in the lifetime of most investors. I continue to reside in the former camp, but am watching SPX 1310 and NDX 1725 for signs of additional cracks in the dike.

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