Another newsletter stated, "The CBOE put/call ratio for index options was at 1.83, which on a contrarian basis, is a bullish sign." This reading is higher than your .86 below, so was their higher number an intraday reading? Also, how do I find this ratio to follow during the day? (VIX was reported same by each of you). (March 23, 2001)

  That was most likely an intraday reading. As the market rises and falls each session, the put call ratio rises and falls just as fear rises and falls. You can often see spikes higher at the open as the first round of orders hits or as companies with share buyback plans sell puts. This can also happen at the close as positions are squared or taken for the next session. The ratio can spike well above 1.0 intraday and then collapse to 0.1. When looking at the put/call ratio over history, we have found that the only meaningful reading is on the close. That shows you if fear was transitory or not. Any news story can spike the ratio; the key is whether it closes showing a high level of fear combined with market selling. That indicates real fear. Our review shows that serious market bottoms are put in when the index closes above 1.0 and the higher the better.

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