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Chart of the Week: Total Put to Call Ratio


A look at how using the CBOE's total CPC could have helped identify tops, bottoms in S&P 500 last year.

Thanks to all who submitted charts for the Chart of the Week contest. After getting off to a slow start, I was somewhat skeptical that my idea of opening up the chart of the week to readers would turn out as I'd hoped, but when over two dozen submissions landed in my inbox, I was humbled by the breadth and depth of the body of work they represented.

Alas there can only be one gold medal and this time around (I'm sure I'll do this again), the winner is Amir from Las Vegas.

Amir's chart shows how using the CBOE's total put to call ratio (CPC) could have been helpful in identifying tops and bottoms in the S&P 500 index during the course of the last year. The areas highlighted in yellow show that the total put to call ratio (which summarizes put and call activity for individual equities plus indices) spiking to extreme levels during the June-July 2009 low and just last month dropping to the lowest level in several years. Clearly last month's signal was an excellent time to trade on the short side, at least for the short-term. Whether the extreme reading turns out to be a harbinger of a much steeper downturn remains to be seen.

My personal bias is to use the ISEE and CPCE (equity only) put to call data, but any one of these indicators is capable of generating excellent short-term to long-term market timing signals.

For his efforts, Amir also wins a one year free subscription to Expiring Monthly: The Option Traders Journal.

Thanks again to all those who submitted a very strong group of charts. As much fun as this was, I'll be sure to periodically open up the Chart of the Week competition to readers going forward.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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