Lawrence G. McMillan reviews the options market in his weekly column for September 11.
Late last week, $SPX broke out above a minor downtrend line, accompanied by buy signals from several indicators. It appeared that a move to new all-time highs was imminent. However, those plans have stalled. $SPX did challenge the previous highs at 2480 but was unable to break through. This week it has struggled. So, at this time, the $SPX chart needs to break out over 2480 to be classified as strongly bullish. Otherwise it's in a trading range, from roughly 2400 to 2480.
The equity-only put-call ratios have diverged. The standard ratio is on a buy signal, but the weighted ratio stubbornly clings to a sell signal.
Market breadth has remained generally positive, but it hasn't retained the same momentum that it had a week ago. Even so, both breadth oscillators remain on buy signals at this time.
Volatility indices continue to remain at relatively low levels. Despite spiking up above our demarcation line of 13 several times this month, $VIX has for the most part continued to close below 13. That is bullish for stocks.
In summary, the indicators remain bullish for the most part -- with the exception of the weighted equity-only put-call ratio which is on a sell signal. The $SPX chart isn't really strongly bullish until it breaks out above 2480, though. So, at this point, what had looked like a potential for an upside breakout seems to be deteriorating into more of a trading range between 2400 and 2480.
Lawrence G. McMillan is the author of two best selling books on options, including Options as a Strategic Investment, and publishes several option trading newsletters.