As we do each Monday, in last night’s Closer we highlighted the latest futures positioning data from last Friday’s release of the CFTC’s Commitments of Traders report.  Of all assets, perhaps the most striking number was in S&P 500 futures. In data as of last Tuesday, a net 15.11% of open interest among speculators was positioned short. That marked the most bearish positioning for this class of investors since September 2007.  Prior to that, there have been relatively few instances of speculator positioning exceeding 15% net short.  Most of those occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000s when positioning readings were far more volatile on account of open interest being much smaller than it is today.  With that being said, we would also note that open interest has been trending lower in the past few years with recent readings being some of the lowest since 2008 on a 52-week moving average basis.

Make sure to check out tonight’s Closer, where we provide an analysis of the performance of the S&P 500 following other historically net short readings.

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