Sentiment Indicators Heading In Different Directions

Tuesday, 07 Feb 2012 09:39 AM

By Rick Pendergraft

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Every weekend, one of my routines is to check the different sentiment indicators that I like the best.

I always check the CBOE Equity Put/Call Ratio, the Rydex Nova/Ursa Ratio and the Investors Intelligence report. Sometimes I will look at more than these three, but these three are a must for me.

Two weeks ago, I mentioned the CBOE Equity Put/Call ratio had been falling, which means that option investors were becoming more optimistic. The 21-day moving average on the ratio was at 61.5 back then and not much has changed since then. It is still hovering right in the 0.60 range.

As I mentioned two weeks ago, too much optimism is a caution sign for a contrarian. Thus, the low put/call ratio is a caution signal.

Turning to the Rydex Nova/Ursa ratio, a low reading on this indicator means that more money is flowing into the bearish Ursa fund and suggests that investors are pessimistic.

At the very least, a falling ratio means that investors are being cautious.

Last week, the Nova/Ursa ratio dropped sharply from a reading of 0.347 to a reading of 0.292. The last time this ratio was this low was in mid-October, just before the market rallied sharply.

The Investors Intelligence report has been extremely stable lately with the bullish percentage holding within 1 percent of 50 percent for the last six weeks while the bearish percentage has held within a point and half of 30 percent for the same period.

What this tells us is that investors are somewhat divided right now.

Option traders are optimistic, Rydex investors are cautious and newsletter publishers are standing pat.

Sentiment is most useful when there is a consensus and right now, there is anything but a consensus.

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