This week’s chart of the week could easily chronicle the recent decline in volatility, but that’s a story many pundits have already flogged to within an inch of its life, so it’s time for something else. Like volume.
The volume story rarely gets the air (electron?) time it deserves, so I have plucked out a chart in hopes of being provocative.
In the StockCharts lexicon, $NYTV is one of several measures of NYSE volume. Specifically, it is the daily NYSE volume figure reported by the Wall Street Journal and the one I have chosen to standardize on for my own charts. The chart below uses the NYTV numbers to plot NYSE total volume (dotted black line) against the backdrop of a solid gray area chart for the SPX, with data going back to May 2008. To smooth out some of the fluctuations and holiday-induced dips in volume, I have added a 9-day exponential moving average (EMA) as a solid blue line. I have also included a 10-day rate of change (ROC) study below the main chart.
While readers will undoubtedly draw their own conclusions from the chart, I have chosen to highlight three bottoms in the 9-day volume EMA. The first one occurs in late August 2008, just before the Lehman-induced September swoon. The second bottom is from late December, just before the January top. With Friday’s late volume surge triggered by the Russell index reconstitution, the spike in volume is almost certain to confirm that the mid-June volume drought will now become another bottom. The dip in volume coincided with the most recent top in the SPX and it is possible that for the third time in 1 ½ years, the volume bottom could signal a multi-month drop in the SPX.