3 Signs Bulls Are Hitting the Exits

AAII and NAAIM surveys, on top of the latest options data, point to skepticism not seen in years

by Andrea Kramer

    Published on Feb 5, 2016 at 2:48 PM

    With U.S. stocks on the wildest ride since the financial crisis, Wall Street has grown wary. Below, we'll take a look at three charts reflecting the general skepticism.

    Not even a month ago, the number of self-proclaimed bulls hit its lowest point in more than a decade, according to the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) survey. Now, the 10-week moving average of AAII bulls stands at its lowest point since August 1993, at 25.2%, according to Schaeffer's Quantitative Analyst Chris Prybal.

    160209AAII

    After ticking higher last week, the National Association of Active Investment Managers (NAAIM) Exposure Index -- which attempts to quantify the equity allocations among investment managers -- just suffered its largest point decline since mid-May, and its biggest percentage decrease since Oct. 15, 2014, Prybal says. NAAIM sentiment is now at the lowest point since September 2015, as of Wednesday.

    160206NAAIM


    Finally, yesterday's equity-only buy-to-open put/call volume ratio on the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) hit its second-highest reading ever, clocking in at 1.26. In other words, options traders placed bearish bets over bullish at a much faster-than-usual clip yesterday. The highest reading ever occurred on Aug. 1, 2014.

    160206ISE


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