Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Midday Briefing: Advance-Decline Strength

You can see that NYSE advancing stocks are leading decliners by a little over 640 issues as of my writing this. The intraday A/D line is near its day's high, even though the S&P 500 Index (SPY) is well off its early morning peak. This is because small cap stocks, represented alongside large caps in the NYSE Composite universe, are showing relative strength compared with the S&P 500 large caps.

If you look at the NYSE TICK distribution on the day, you'll see that it is skewed positively. This is because many of the smaller stocks are trading on upticks. By comparing the distribution of ES volume at offer vs. bid with the distribution of NYSE TICK, we can gain a sense for whether sentiment is favoring large vs. small caps. On trend days, these sentiment measures will move together, as large and small caps display a directional bias.