Most of the sentiment indicators I use are contrarian indicators: when optimism is high, I become skeptical.
When pessimism is running rampant, I become more optimistic.
While scanning a number of sentiment indicators this past weekend, I found an interesting development.
The E-Mini S&P futures behave exactly opposite to what a contrarian would expect. (The E-Mini S&P, designated by the commodity ticker symbol ES, is a stock market index futures contract traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's Globex electronic trading platform.)
Looking at the Commitment of Traders report for this past week, I discovered that Large Speculators were short approximately 175,000 contracts on the e-mini as of Oct. 20 and trimmed the short position slightly this past week.
The 175,000 short position is the biggest short position in the last two years. The biggest short position in the last five years came in October 2007, right as the market was hitting its top.
Conversely, the biggest net long position by large speculators came in March 2009, right as the market bottomed out and went on its incredible run.
While this might not be typical of the way we look at sentiment, the inverse relationship between the market and the large speculators net positions is abundantly clear.
Don’t get hung up on how things are supposed to work, rather take the information and use it to try to stack the odds in your favor.
In this instance, it looks as though a pullback may be in the works.
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