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Understanding Contrarian Stock Market Analysis

InvestorEducation / Learning to Invest Nov 07, 2010 - 09:01 AM GMT

By: Jeff_Neal

InvestorEducation

Traders have employed contrarian type analysis methods for years in an effort to garner market profits. Over the years the indicators that can be employed by the contrarian have grown but the major theme has remained the same and that is focus on what the majority is doing right now as well as what particular directional bias they currently possess. Contrarian analysis seeks out potential buying and selling strength by measuring investor expectations.


It is based on the notion that by the time it becomes public knowledge that a large number of people are bullish on a particular equity, a substantial amount of that stock has already been purchased and thus there might not be much additional demand. On the other hand, by the time everyone is bearish the selling strength has been largely depleted and at that point even a small amount of buying can push the stock higher.

Contrarians rely on some very basic but important principles when applying their sentiment methodology. One of these principles is that the strongest contrarian implications are in place when a stock rallies with heavy bearish sentiment or declines among strong bullish sentiment. In addition, contrarians assert that bullish sentiment during rallies and bearish sentiment during declines are expected and therefore offer the weakest implications.

Contrarians trade counter to the prevailing trend based upon sentiment factors that are in line with the trend claiming they will be profitable during declines when sentiment nears a bearish extreme and during rallies when sentiment reaches a bullish zenith. They assert that that the general investing public are a very fickle group and sentiment can always become more bullish or more bearish, even if the indicators seem to have reached an extreme.

Contrarians use a variety of tools. Some of the more popular indicators include short interest, analyst ratings, and even the amount of popular news coverage. Some also use put/call ratios, however, most contrarians say they have to be sufficiently tweaked to be effective like using open interest for a particular time frame before expiration. Short interest is defined as the total number of shares of a stock that have been sold short and not yet repurchased.

Contrarians consider rising short interest as a near term bullish indicator since these borrowed shares must be repurchased. Short interest figures are reported once a month around the middle of the month and contrarians typically employ this indicator to signal intermediate and long-term trades. Sometimes the short interest indicator is used for even shorter-term trades when a key event like an earnings release is approaching.

Contrarians also like to closely monitor the Wall Street analysts and keep track of their buy, hold or sell ratings on a particular stock. They use it as a sentiment indicator claiming that an abundance of buy ratings can be a negative sign since there is hardly any further upgrade potential for the stock and thus can only go down from here. On the other hand if the stock has a lot of sell ratings then any type of upgrade could be the catalyst the stock was looking for to surge to the upside.

Finally, if a stock is getting a lot of media attention and is often seen as headline news then according to the contrarian philosophy this is a clear signal that the current trend is about to come to an end. Keep in mind if attracted to contrarian analysis as a methodology that it is just another way to provide the trader with an edge but it is not foolproof. In fact it works best during sentiment extremes and should never be used in a vacuum.

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Best Regards,
Jeff Neal

E-mail : Info@stockbarometer.com if you have any questions about this trade or any other questions or comments.

Important Disclosure
Futures, Options, Mutual Fund, ETF and Equity trading have large potential rewards, but also large potential risk. You must be aware of the risks and be willing to accept them in order to invest in these markets. Don't trade with money you can't afford to lose. This is neither a solicitation nor an offer to buy/sell Futures, Options, Mutual Funds or Equities. No representation is being made that any account will or is likely to achieve profits or losses similar to those discussed on this Web site. The past performance of any trading system or methodology is not necessarily indicative of future results.
Performance results are hypothetical. Hypothetical or simulated performance results have certain inherent limitations. Unlike an actual performance record, simulated results do not represent actual trading. Also, since the trades have not actually been executed, the results may have under- or over-compensated for the impact, if any, of certain market factors, such as a lack of liquidity. Simulated trading programs in general are also subject to the fact that they are designed with the benefit of hindsight. No representation is being made that any account will or is likely to achieve profits or losses similar to those shown.
Investment Research Group and all individuals affiliated with Investment Research Group assume no responsibilities for your trading and investment results.
Investment Research Group (IRG), as a publisher of a financial newsletter of general and regular circulation, cannot tender individual investment advice. Only a registered broker or investment adviser may advise you individually on the suitability and performance of your portfolio or specific investments.
In making any investment decision, you will rely solely on your own review and examination of the fact and records relating to such investments. Past performance of our recommendations is not an indication of future performance. The publisher shall have no liability of whatever nature in respect of any claims, damages, loss, or expense arising out of or in connection with the reliance by you on the contents of our Web site, any promotion, published material, alert, or update.
For a complete understanding of the risks associated with trading, see our Risk Disclosure.

© 2010 Copyright Jeff Neal - All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


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