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Stock Market Barometers

Fundamental and technical indicators of the market's health

January 06, 1998

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: 975.04

200-day moving average, Friday: 897.75

*

Russell 2,000 index (smaller stocks), Friday: 436.52

200-day moving average, Friday: 406.16

*

Price-to-earnings ratio of the Standard & Poor's 500: 24.0

Based on actual earnings per share, 12 months ended Sept. 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%

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Weekly new highs vs. new lows on the NYSE: 455/128

Data for the week ended Friday. More highs than lows is preferable, indicating a bullish trend.

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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.

Dec. 26

Bullish: 50.8%

Bearish: 31.5

Correction: 17.7

*

Friday

Bullish: 47.6%

Bearish: 35.2

Correction: 17.2

Put-call ratio: 0.46

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 http://www.agedwards.com on the World Wide Web.

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