What is market sentiment?
Market sentiment refers to the overall attitude of investors toward a particular security or financial market. It is the feeling or tone of a market, or its crowd psychology, as revealed through the activity and price movement of the securities traded in that market. In broad terms, rising prices indicate bullish market sentiment, while falling prices indicate bearish market sentiment.
Market sentiment, also called “investor sentiment,” is not always based on fundamentals. Day traders and technical analysts rely on market sentiment, as it influences the technical indicators they utilize to measure and profit from short-term price movements often caused by investor attitudes toward a security.
Indicators to Measure Market Sentiment
The VIX, also known as the fear index, is driven by option prices. A rising VIX means an increased need for insurance in the market. If traders feel the need to protect against risk, it’s a sign of increasing volatility. Traders add moving averages to the VIX that help determine if it’s relatively high or low.
Bullish Percent Index
The bullish percent index (BPI) measures the number of stocks with bullish patterns based on point and figure charts. Neutral markets have a bullish percentage around 50%. When the BPI gives a reading of 80% or higher, market sentiment is extremely optimistic, with stocks likely overbought. Likewise, when it measures 20% or below, market sentiment is negative and indicates an oversold market.
Investors typically use the 50-day simple moving average (SMA) and 200-day SMA when determining a market’s sentiment.
When the 50-day SMA crosses above the 200-day SMA – referred to as a “golden cross,” it indicates that momentum has shifted to the upside, creating bullish sentiment. Conversely, when the 50-day SMA crosses below the 200-day SMA – referred to as a “death cross,” it suggests lower prices, generating bearish sentiment.