This article was originally published on January 10 under the title 'Flash Crash Indicator Nearing Flash Crash Signal.'
"The greater fool theory on Wall Street requires that the ‘dumb money’ buys from the ‘smart money’ at the top.
This implies that a ‘dumb money’ rush into stocks tends to precede some sort of down market.
Are there enough ‘great fools’ buying right now to trigger a down market, nasty correction or even flash crash?
Admittedly somewhat unwittingly (say that ten times fast) I predicted the 2010 Flash Crash using the CBOE Equity Put/Call Ratio.
In a special alert to subscribers on April 16, 2010 (now called the Profit Radar Report) I warned of the following:
'The message conveyed by the composite bullishness is unmistakably bearish. The put/call ratio in particular can have far reaching consequences. Protective put-buying provides a safety net for investors. If prices fall, the value of put options increases balancing any losses occurred by the portfolio. Put-protected positions do not have to be sold to curb losses. At current levels however, it seems that only a minority of equity positions are equipped with a put safety net. Once prices do fall and investors do get afraid of incurring losses, the only option is to sell. Selling results in more selling. This negative feedback loop usually results in rapidly falling prices.'
We are now again in an environment where the option put/call ratio has been steadily declining for weeks.
A number of media outlets have discussed the bearish message of the currently low equity put/call ratio.
As with any indicator, the current put/call ratio needs to be viewed in context with the bigger picture. The chart below does just that.
The first chart plots the S&P 500 against the CBOE Equity Put/Call Ratio (daily data and 10-day SMA). The vertical dashed red line on the left marks the Flash Crash. View enlarged S&P 500 put/call ratio chart here
Four years of daily put/call data comes with a lot of noise.
The daily put/call ratio dropped to 0.46 on 12/31 and 0.47 yesterday, which means call volume was more than twice put volume. This doesn’t happen often and has lead to corrections in the past.
The 10-day SMA put/call ratio was at 0.512 on Wednesday, the lowest reading since January 2011. Back then it didn’t affect stocks immediately, in fact the market kept moving higher (albeit not in a straight line) for three more months before giving back all gains and then some.
Three weeks before the Flash Crash, the 10-day put/call SMA fell as low as 0.445.
The Flash Crash on May 6 was a result of bullish enthusiasm and lacking put protection as explained above."
The lack of put protection preceded the Flash Crash and Friday's 2% sell off.
As brought out by the original 'Flash Crash Indicator Nearing Flash Crash Signal' article, it takes a drop below support to get a sell signal in the QE bull market.
This drop below support happened on Thursday.
The article below highlights where this support is located and why it is important. If fact, it's so powerful it could be considered insider trading. Insider Trading Just Became Legal
Simon Maierhofer is the publisher of the Profit Radar Report. The Profit Radar Report presents complex market analysis (stocks, gold, silver, euro and bonds) in an easy format. Technical analysis, sentiment indicators, seasonal patterns and common sense are all wrapped up into two or more easy-to-read weekly updates. All Profit Radar Report recommendations resulted in a 59.51% net gain in 2013.
More From iSPYETF