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Stock Market Barometers

September 16, 1997

Fundamental and technical indicators of the market's health

Key indexes vs. their 200-day moving averages:

S & P 500 (blue-chip stocks), Friday: 923.91

200-day moving average, Friday: 829.34


Russell 2,000 index (smaller stocks), Friday: 440.09

200-moving average, Friday: 376.38

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: 22.8

Based on actual earnings per share, 12 months ended June 30

Average since 1923: 13.5


Dividend yield of the Standard & Poor's 500: 1.7%

Average dividend yield of blue-chip stocks

Average since 1923: 4.5%


Weekly new highs vs. new lows on the NYSE: 620/44

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.

Bullish: September 5, 33.9%; Friday, 37.6%

Bearish: September 5, 32.2; Friday, 34.4%

Correction: September 5, 33.9; Friday, 28.0%


Put-call ratio:: 0.39

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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