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New Update: Gauging Investor Sentiment With Twitter

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    December 25, 2012

    The Downside Hedge Twitter Sentiment indicator for the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is showing that optimism remains high among market participants even in the face of the risk provided by the stalled budget negotiations in Washington. Monday and Tuesday brought a lot of tweets about the short term rising trend channel and market participants trading the range it provides. Friday’s negative action didn’t bring a large volume of negative tweets as we would have expected. Instead, traders continue to believe the Fiscal Cliff issue is temporary and are anxious for the buying opportunity it will provide. So even though price reversed sharply, negative sentiment did not spike downward.



    On Tuesday we recorded the highest reading to date on daily sentiment. The last time we saw extremely high prints near a price high was in August and September. These both occurred as smoothed sentiment was diverging from price which warned of an impending top. We’re seeing the same activity now, however, smoothed sentiment is still above its rising trend line and still above zero. This suggests the market has room to consolidate without doing serious damage to sentiment. A fall below the rising trend line will be our second warning of a top and a fall below zero will add further evidence of a bearish outcome.

    Twitter support and resistance levels continue to stay in a fairly tight range between 1390 and 1460 on SPX, with most of the tweets between 1410 and 1460. Below the market there are several clusters of support building at 1410, 1400, and 1390. These levels were mentioned in many tweets as likely places traders would be buyers.

    Above the market 1460 is by far the most mentioned resistance level. We consider it major resistance and a likely target for any further rally. 1500 is still being mentioned, but in less frequency so the prospects for that level are diminishing.

    To summarize, we believe the divergence in smoothed sentiment is our first sign that the market is ready to consolidate. There is strong support between 1390 and 1410 which should slow any downward pressure and provide a place where the market can bounce. However, a break of those levels would most likely bring sharp selling due to the lack of any support below. Should a rally materialize we’ll be watching how sentiment reacts to the 1460 on SPX as it is a very strong resistance level.
    Note from dshort: Here is a YouTube video in which Blair gives an explanation of the indicator and examples of how he used it in his posts over the last several weeks.




    For additional background information on this indicator, see Gauging Investor Sentiment with Twitter.


    Blair Jensen at Downside Hedge tracks Twitter sentiment and provides hedging strategies for individual investors.


    Images: Flickr (licence attribution)

    About The Author

    My original dshort.com website was launched in February 2005 using a domain name based on my real name, Doug Short. I’m a formerly retired first wave boomer with a Ph.D. in English from Duke. Now my website has been acquired byAdvisor Perspectives, where I have been appointed the Vice President of Research.

    My first career was a faculty position at North Carolina State University, where I achieved the rank of Full Professor in 1983. During the early ’80s I got hooked on academic uses of microcomputers for research and instruction. In 1983, I co-directed the Sixth International Conference on Computers and the Humanities. An IBM executive who attended the conference made me a job offer I couldn’t refuse.

    Thus began my new career as a Higher Education Consultant for IBM — an ambassador for Information Technology to major universities around the country. After 12 years with Big Blue, I grew tired of the constant travel and left for a series of IT management positions in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. I concluded my IT career managing the group responsible for email and research databases at GlaxoSmithKline until my retirement in 2006.

    Contrary to what many visitors assume based on my last name, I’m not a bearish short seller. It’s true that some of my content has been a bit pessimistic in recent years. But I believe this is a result of economic realities and not a personal bias. For the record, my efforts to educate others about bear markets date from November 2007, as this Motley Fool article attests.