IG Client Sentiment Analysis

IG client sentiment is an indicator that IG Index provides to show what percentage of clients have long or short positions.

For example looking at the NASDAQ index, we can currently see that 56% of clients are long this market and 44% are short:

NASDAQ IG client sentiment

A general consensus is that this is often a “contrarian” indicator, clients try to short when the market when it is going up and go long when the market is going down.

The Excel Price Feed Add-in provides historical client sentiment data which you can download into Excel. You can then combine this data with historical market data to see how client sentiment changes as the market changes.

Here is a chart of long client sentiment (the orange line) versus market daily close (the blue line) for the S&P500 Index over the past 4 months:

S&P500 IG client sentiment

There does appear to be a correlation, as the market moves up client long positions moves down – clients are moving from long to short positions as the market goes up.

Then at the peak (early September) client positions were long just before the market started dropping.

As the market moved down (i.e. for the past month) clients stayed long.

This example shows that client sentiment data can be used to provide trading signals, especially at “turning points” in sentiment. Obviously this would need to be tested against different markets but it is definitely a useful tool when looking for trading opportunities.

Volatile Excel Functions

Today I was talking to a customer and his issue was a strange one which I hadn’t seen before.

Every time he changed ANYTHING on his spreadsheet he noticed that it would refresh unrelated formulas, i.e. formulas that did not reference the cells he was updating.

The main formula on his sheet was this:

=EPF.Yahoo.HistoricDatePeriod("AMD","Weekly","1 Jan 2020", TODAY(), "DESC", 1)

This is an Excel Price Feed dynamic array formula which returns weekly historical stock market data for AMD stock from 1 Jan 2020 to today.

This formula is non-volatile so should only update when any of its parameters change.

So, what was going on?

The culprit was actually one of the parameters: the Excel TODAY() function.

This built-in Excel function is a volatile function and will update ANYTIME ANYTHING on the spreadsheet changes.

What is a Volatile Function?

Microsoft defines a volatile function as follows:

…one whose value cannot be assumed to be the same from one moment to the next even if none of its arguments (if it takes any) has changed.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office/client-developer/excel/excel-recalculation

There are 8 built-in volatile Excel formulas, and it is worth being aware that using these in your spreadsheet could have unintended consequences:

  • NOW
  • TODAY
  • RANDBETWEEN
  • OFFSET
  • INDIRECT
  • INFO (depending on its arguments)
  • CELL (depending on its arguments)
  • SUMIF (depending on its arguments)

The Solution

The solution was simple, replace the TODAY() function with a string value of the current date. This could be either hardcoded into the formula or better still entered into a cell and referenced from the formula.

So, if you every notice your spreadsheet starting to slow-down or start doing unnecessary calculations then look out for volatile functions.

Pre-market stock prices

Stock markets are generally only open during specific times, the “trading day”. For example, the US market is open from 9:30am to 4:00pm (EST).

However, this is not the only period when trading takes place and when prices can change, there is also the pre-market which is “open” before the regular market opens.

This is a time of very little liquidity however trading during this time can enable you to take advantage of any news or events that happen outside normal market hours.

Yahoo Finance provides prices during this period, the pre-market (or before hours) prices.

For example, below we can see the current “before hours” price for Apple stock is 364.00 and the price has moved -2.53 from yesterdays close price of 366.53:

Apple stock price: live and pre-market

We have recently added some new Excel formulas to the Add-in to provide pre-market prices in Excel:

  • EPF.Yahoo.PreMarketPrice
  • EPF.Yahoo.PreMarketChange
  • EPF.Yahoo.PreMarketChangePercent
  • EPF.Yahoo.MarketState

This last formula is used to find the current state for the market eg. whether we are in regular or pre-market trading hours: “REGULAR” or “PRE”.

The example spreadsheet below shows the formulas in action, you can see column C uses the PreMarketPrice formula which references the ticker in column A:

Excel Price Feed pre-market stock prices

We hope you find these new formulas useful and as ever keep your feedback coming, preferably on the Support Forum or leave a comment below.