Stock Market Barometers

Fundamental and technical indicators of the market's health

Key indexes vs. their 200-day moving averages:

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

Price-to-earnings ratio of the Standard & Poor's 500: 27.64

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

Average since 1923: 13.5


Dividend yield of the Standard & Poor's 500: 1.44

Average dividend yield of blue-chip stocks

Average since 1923: 4.5%


Weekly new highs vs. new lows on the NYSE: 731/71

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.


Mar. 13 Friday Bullish: 48.8% 48.0% Bearish: 27.6% 27.6% Correction: 23.6 24.4


Put-call ratio:0.43

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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