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Stock Market Barometers

September 23, 1997

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 generally bullish if the index stays above the average.

S & P 500 (blue-chip stocks), Friday: 950.51

200-day moving average, Friday: 834.06


Russell 2,000 index (smaller stocks), Friday: 447.17

200-day moving average, Friday: 378.61


Price-to-earnings ratio of the Standard & Poor's 500: 23.4

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

Average since 1923: 13.5


Dividend yield of the Standard & Poor's 500: 1.6%

Average dividend yield of blue-chip stocks

Average since 1923: 4.5%


Weekly new highs vs. new lows on the NYSE: 880/62

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.

Bullish: September 12, 37.6%; Friday, 39.0%

Bearish: September 12, 34.4; Friday, 35.8%

Correction: September 12, 28.0; Friday, 25.2%


Put-call ratio: 0.37

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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