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

Feb 5, 2016 at 2:48 PM
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    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.

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    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.

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