Stock Market Barometers

Fundamental and technical indicators of the market's health

Key indexes vs. their 200-day moving averages:

S&P; 500 (blue-chip stocks), Friday: 1,068.81

200-day moving average, Friday: 948.89


Russell 2,000 index (smaller stocks), Friday: 468.77

200-day moving average, Friday: 428.25

A stock index's 200-day moving average indicates the basic trend, up or down. It is generally bullish if the index stays above the average.


Price-to-earnings ratio of the Standard & Poor's 500: 26.47

Based on actual earnings per share, 12 months ended Dec. 31

Average since 1923: 13.5


Dividend yield of the Standard & Poor's 500: 1.50%

Average dividend yield of blue-chip stocks

Average since 1923: 4.5%


Weekly new highs vs. new lows on the NYSE: 568/62

Data for the week ended Friday. More highs than lows is preferable, indicating a bullish trend.


Investment newsletter sentiment:

Stocks' near-term trend as predicted by 135 independent investment newsletters, weekly survey by Investors Intelligence. The data are often viewed as a contrarian indicator: A rising percentage of bulls can signal a topping market.

Feb. 27

Bullish: 46.0%

Bearish: 28.2

Correction: 25.8



Bullish: 48.8%

Bearish: 27.2

Correction: 24.0


Put-call ratio: 0.40

The ratio of stock put options to call options traded last week on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. A low put-call ratio--under 0.40--can be construed as bearish because it indicates a high level of optimism, leaving a lot of room for disappointment.

Source: A.G. Edwards & Sons. More information can be found at on the World Wide Web.

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