Lowest NYSE Volume of the Year

Peter Boockvar notes:

Today’s consolidated volume for NYSE
names was a low for the year to date.

Helene Meisler notes:

It’s a bear market — and these low volume rallies are typical of short covering. (unless you believe all those dark pools are swallowing all the volume!).

As long as there are shorts in the market we will get rallies;  Once the shorts cover we get a decline like last week.

Doug Kass goes even further:

I am starting to scale into shorts now. 
My favorite? PowerShares QQQ (QQQQ). 
My catalysts? The VIX and volume.

That’s our surprising data point of the day.


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  1. Innocent Bystander commented on May 12

    A lot of index charts look like that. And the Bubblevision fools are peeing in their pants about the close tonight.

  2. Mikael commented on May 12

    check out the short interest on the SPY (SPY Equity SI ). Its about triple what it was at the start of the year!

  3. michael schumacher commented on May 12

    and the volume continues to not matter as we get pushed up on yet more wonderful news.


    your industry needs to get it’s collective head out of it’s ass and call this out for what it is…..MASSIVE FRAUD.

    But I see how that doesn’t get readers or make any money. I guess hemming and hawing about it makes yourself feel better about it.

    Call these pricks out before they make it worse than can ever be recovered. We are talking about having the market hijacked on a DAILY basis with these goddamn futures buying on really crappy news……the free market left the building last year in case you had not noticed.

    All you can say is “it might be speculation”

    Fuck us all if that is the prevailing attitude amongst you and your peers. You have a pulpit…..USE IT TO ADVANCE THE COMMON GOOD FOR ALL not just make $$$$$$$


  4. bluestatedon commented on May 12

    The market’s up 130 because, according to MSN.money, “oil prices…fell back and alleviated some of investors’ concerns about accelerating inflation.”

    So oil falls to “only” $124 per barrel, and investors are supposedly regarding that as a sign that inflation is moderating? I’d like a truckload of whatever they’re smoking, please.

  5. Jdamon commented on May 12

    Had to be a big up day if MS spouted off the f bomb again….

  6. Grandma commented on May 12

    Helene Meisler: “As long as there are shorts in the market we will get rallies; once the shorts cover we get a decline like last week.”

    Why when we had a decline last week on low volume nobody was making comments like: “As long as there are shorts in the market we will get selloffs; once the shorts short we get an increase like this week.”

    Why when there is a rally on low volume, the bears are quick to proclaim that it is a “short covering rally”, but when there is a selloff on low volume like last week, nobody says it was because short sellers were shorting on low volume?

    Why there are no “short shorting selloffs” but there are “short covering rally”? Anybody?

    P.S. Barry, I did not see you making posts about “short shorting selloffs” last week but I see you posting about “short covering rally” this week? Why?


    BR: Today wasn’t just a low volume day, it was THE LOWEST VOLUME DAY OF THE YEAR.

    Any data point which is either unusual or extreme is, IMO, worth considering. Hence, the lightest volume day of the year has significance . . .

  7. michael schumacher commented on May 12

    this is not about being long or short jdamon, it’s about stopping this practice of inflate our way out of poor decisions with even poorer ones. But it’s too bad you can’t see it for that…..make a few bucks and it’s ok right??
    hope you made them in something other than dollars.

    but let’s just think that there was not some massive coordination with Jamie’s comments today. Only a blind man can’t see what happened today……

    This system is broken and needs to be fixed. The people in this business are too busy counting cash to give a shit about the real affects of poor monetary policy for the sake of one election. We ALL will be paying for this for a very long time.

    If it takes some profanity from me to get you to see it then fine…if not then good luck with the ignorance crowd.


  8. michael schumacher commented on May 12


    if you think today was short covering then C has some “assets” they’d like to talk to you about….

    Short covering does not happen like today, never has……never will. I have been the victim of short covering and had many benefits from it…….this was not shorts covering.


  9. Mark E Hoffer commented on May 12

    I’m with MS here. BR, you have a great record. From which, you could take a page from Diogenes and carry your Lamp on Wall St.


    BR: Hey, it ain’t me that’s adulterating the coinage . . .

  10. Jonathan commented on May 12

    Although there are some people pretty angry at today’s gain (you know who you are), I am not sure that it is a bad thing when the market gains points, whether the volume bringing it up is low OR high. Low volume could even me that perhaps the market is on the verge of stabalizing.

    High volatility is usually a sign of a struggling market. Bad news of any kind can cause the market to make triple-digit gains, only to make a triple-digit fall right back down the mountain if one company gives a report someone doesn’t like.

    I am not too concerned about low volumes, I take it as more long-term investing, and less “take your profits and run to cash” actions.

    Where this could be very bad is if their investments are in cash now and they are just sitting on it. Then Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, says I.

  11. super-anon commented on May 12

    Well my sense was to go short at around DOW 13,000 because that just seemed consistent with the kind of bear market rallies we’ve seen in the past.

    So I’m more amused than anything by the upward move today.

    But I do agree with more disgruntled posters that there’s a growing resentment toward Wall Street that is entirely justifiable and may result in the kind of extreme backlash that will make traders an endangered species.

    I think Wall Street needs to look into cleaning up it’s own act or we’re just not going to have a Wall Street anymore.

    IMO driving up oil prices borders on suicide. If we get populist sentiment targeting it’s anger at professional speculators the game could be over for at least a generation.

    This is probably the only reason I keep my day job at this point.

  12. Grandma commented on May 12

    Michael Schumacher,

    Thank you for responding Michael. You are smart… but Helene Meisler (and maybe Barry) thinks it was secondary to shorts covering.

    I know there are studies showing that low volume does not matter (but Wall Street continues obsessing about it).

    Michael, could you please pull out one of these studies and post it here for Helene Meisler and Barry to read it. (I am using a BlackBerry and cannot do it right now)

    Thank you!

  13. Jesse Felder commented on May 12

    barton biggs on cnbc today: “the pain trade is for the market to go higher than people expect – back towards the old highs.”

  14. super-anon commented on May 12

    The market’s up 130 because, according to MSN.money, “oil prices…fell back and alleviated some of investors’ concerns about accelerating inflation.”

    So oil falls to “only” $124 per barrel, and investors are supposedly regarding that as a sign that inflation is moderating? I’d like a truckload of whatever they’re smoking, please.

    It’s really amusing watching them find some explanation every day.

    A couple of weeks ago rising oil prices were good for stocks. “Oil, stocks rally as collapsing economic indicators fuel optimism”.

    Again, IMO it’s just getting too out of hand. To unethical.

  15. Eric commented on May 12

    TWM Russell 2000 Ultrashort was a gift from the gods at the close today. Good luck all.

  16. mhm commented on May 12

    I don’t buy the “short covering” as the main driver, but as a side effect of the the “longs stretching it”. Why? So the next leg down doesn’t stray too far from recent averages.

    Too much rationalizing? Maybe, but that micromanagement has been the official game with banks, retail and most everything else. It fells like the indexes are held in place by struts…

    On other news, Interpol will release some data on Colombia and Venezuela this Thursday. It could affect the US oil imports…

  17. Mich(^IXIC1881) commented on May 12

    I stopped listening to Yahoo, CNBC or any other financial news media on why markets went up or down…I wish I learned that long ago, but that’s why I keep on invested in the market. Expensive tuition but as long as I am learning I am fine with it.

    First they say “markets are rising because dollar is falling”, then they turn and say “markets are rising before dollar is rising”.

    Fact of the matter is they don’t know sh.t, they report whatever obvious correlation exists for the day as a causality relationship.

    Is it pissing me off that many undeserving companies’ stocks keep finding buyers at higher prices? Sure it does because I am loaded in my short ETFs and put positions up to my neck. Do I still get a good night sleep? Suprisingly, I do. Everyday I check the markets couple of times from work and go “huh, so today is not the day either” and continue doing what I do.

    As I said before this market is best described as being under the spell of Stockholm Syndrome…They are prisoned in soul to their kidnappers, and it doesn’t matter if you or I can see the reality with so much clarity. Until the day they get to accept it, we sit and wait.

    One of these days…one of these days…

  18. michael schumacher commented on May 12

    “once the shorts cover we get a decline like last week.”

    Total BS……there was no buying hand over fist on the futures markets last week to prop it up. You know they are not as dumb as people think. They have to allow some slippage otherwise it becomes obvious to the very people they are fooling.

    But not fooling a select few who understand how short covering works…….indexes do not stay at the levels they were at for an extended period if it were really just shorts covering. Calculated Risk poster “AC” likens it to a shotgun blast scattering nervous cattle( I agree ) however it does not take into account the many unscrupulous actions that occur when this “blast” is timed along with it. Like Jamie Daimon’s crap today….totally coordinated and then the lemmings jump on board….can’t say that I blame them however the short-sightedness of this is just beyond reproach.

    It needs to stop and soon…..


  19. ac commented on May 12

    Todays action looked like the Bulls trying to ram the market up even though not many people were not at home.

    Maybe they didn’t like what they saw later in the week and decided to squeeze the margins a little, who knows. Days like today are boring. They don’t mean anything. The short sellers are getting on my nerves with the ever ending whining.

    The Dow hasn’t done a thing for years and yry has lost nominally besides inflation adjusted, they lose a little each day to the inflation bug. Yet, nobody wants to hear that because they don’t get the “myth” of the golden crash they all seem to want so badly.

    Show some brains people.

  20. Patrick commented on May 12

    “I don’t know whether I make myself plain, but I never lose my temper over the stock market. I never argue with the tape. Getting sore at the market doesn’t get you anywhere.” -Livermore

    “There is only one side to the stock market;….not the bull side or the bear side, but the right side.” -Livermore

    Relax people.

    If US stocks are pissing you off so much quit it already and go find another market. There’s only like… 50,000 of them, I’m sure you find one that is more acclimated to your world-view.

    Why do you rail against the stupidity of the masses in driving the market up but don’t realize your own stupidity in not following them?

    Besides, it’s always possible the US market just tracks sideways for a decade. Not every day has to be a crisis.

    Last, but not least, remember that as long as the market tracks sideways in a time of high inflation it is still a “crisis”–it’s not the Fed’s job to prop up the market, just to keep it from falling faster than they can print money.

  21. E commented on May 12


    The “proof by bold assertion” is getting old. And as Kunstler says, I’m allergic to conspiracy theories.

    I’d love to believe you. But that would require you putting together a detailed case with supporting evidence, explanation of the mechanics of the fraud, the perpetrators, etc. – something more than “the market is up because they are screwing us”.

    Shouting profanities doesn’t convince anyone that the market is fixed. Quite the contrary.

  22. Tom Durff commented on May 12

    Ladies and gentlemen. Has anyone noticed that it’s the beginning of Options Expiration week? Have you noticed how often the market tends to go up that week following a decline the preceding week? Might it have something to do with Wall Street grinding the premium out of May Puts they have written (naked, of course)?

    This is nothing new; this has been going on for at least 18 years that I’ve been tracking it.


  23. bsneath commented on May 12

    And then again it could be supply and demand. Perhaps foreign investors are buying into our blue chips now that the dollar has stabilized and USA stocks look cheap.

  24. Darkness commented on May 12

    >Call these pricks out before they make it worse than can ever be recovered. We are talking about having the market hijacked on a DAILY basis with these goddamn futures buying on really crappy news……the free market left the building last year in case you had not noticed.

    MS, if you truly believe that there is a nefarious force manipulating the market in a mode that you contend is, honestly, predictable… then why don’t you play the market that way instead of insisting that it should follow some rationale that matches the one inside your head?

    I personally think the large investors are just acting four steps ahead of the individual investor instead of the previous three, which renders it all inscrutable. But I’m just a little old mutual fund investor…

  25. Phil commented on May 12

    I have to agree with MS. It’s funny watching everyone trying to make sense out of rigged markets…. Wall Street and the Fed are one and the same and they are basically playing with themselves (not meant to be a sexual reference but whatever)

    I you haven’t already seen this episode of people and power then check it out…

    Aljazeera’s People & Power – Rigged Markets

    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z66kmPRl5Y
    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3H6uEyR66M

  26. CDizzle commented on May 12

    Two cheers for Patrick.

    “Jack Be Nimble”…

    …be careful out there, kids…tighten up the stops if you don’t like losing.

  27. Grandma commented on May 12

    “BR: Today wasn’t just a low volume day, it was THE LOWEST VOLUME DAY OF THE YEAR.”

    However, it is only May, fifth month of the year.

    If you take past six months period, there were days with even lower volume in December.

    If you take past twelve months, there were at least six other instances of such low (or even lower) volume.

    Moreover, total number of shares traded by itself does not tell you much. What is more significant? A billion of $1 shares traded or half a billion of $100 shares traded? (see discussion of aggregate market dollar-volume by Bamber (1986, 1987), Lakonishok and Smidt (1986), Morse (1980),
    Richardson, Sefcik, Thompson (1986), Stickel and Verrecchia (1994)).

    What was the total number of trades? What is more significant? One trade of 100 million shares or 100 trades of one million shares each? (Conrad, Hameed, and Niden (1994))

    I think you can pull aggregate market dollar-volume (developed by Tkac (1996)) on your Bloomberg terminal.

    Surprise, surprise, aggregate market dollar-volume was far (not even close to) from “THE LOWEST VOLUME DAY OF THE YEAR”

  28. Steve Barry commented on May 12

    Thank you…I have only been posting for weeks how QQQQ volume has been below its 100 day MA for now 36 out of the last 37 trading days, and if someone has the data, I would not be shocked if this was a very rare ocurrence. The one time it exceeded its 100 day MA, it was by a hair.

  29. Grandma commented on May 12

    Steve Barry,

    During last 100 days there were many days with astronomically high volume (high volatility days), making your 100-DMA abnormally high.

    If you compare QQQQ volume to the average before write-downs related market panic hysteria started, it will fall within 100-DMA volume (not too high and not too low, just perfect Goldilocks volume).

  30. Steve Barry commented on May 12


    You raise a good point, but it just confirms my conclusion that the rally is feeble. When the market was tanking amid the volatility, volume was high…it has rallied for the last 37 days on low volume. Check out this chart that shows on-balance volume…QQQQ has rallied over 15% since early March with on balance volume just being flat. This is a massive negative divergence in possibly the most important metric other than price itself.

    QQQQ Chart

  31. Frank Rizzo, jerky! commented on May 13

    Part of my attraction to TBP is reading Schumacher go ballistic on days when our “free” market seems to defy logic and gravity.

    It makes me want to cuss, too. (Well, I’ll admit it doesn’t take much to get me going.)

  32. Barry Ritholtz commented on May 13


    Good stuff — I love data points like that.

    Let’s compare he two data runs against each other and versus the NDX or SPX, and see if there are any conclusions to be drawn . . .

  33. Vince Farrell commented on May 13

    A survey taken among lenders in the Euro zone shows that credit standards are being tightened and that loan demand in the 15 nations that make up the alliance is slowing sharply. This suggests that an economic slowdown is broadening throughout the region. For now the battle to control inflation is still paramount in the ECB’s mind, so dollar strength will have to come from no more rate cuts by the Fed and comparatively better growth in the U.S versus the European nations.

    Traders on the Forex are betting that the dollar will do better. For the week ending April 29, the Commodities Futures Trading Corp. reports that there a net long 21,315 contracts on the dollar. For the prior 123 weeks (yes, 123) there was a net short position. A one week blip among traders whose idea of long term is sundown, should be taken as just that. But it does reverse a more than two year collective bet against the dollar.

  34. cinefoz commented on May 13

    Slightly off topic, but could someone point me to a complete version of the Goldman Sachs analysis that predicted super spikes in the price of oil? Given my current rant on conscious parallelism, it occurred to me that this analysis might be evidence of ‘price leadership’.

    I believe that I heard that GS also supports speculators in this market, thus providing a financial interest in seeing prices rise and having the party last a lot longer. Does anyone know if this is true?

    Someone with a legal interest in anti-competitive corporate activities might also want to spend a couple of hours researching this.

  35. Vermont Trader commented on May 13

    Agree 100%. I started seeing divergence in breadth last week and the market didn’t rally on good news. Stocks in the lowest decile of performance in the last 6 months have been going up the most in the last month. CEO outlooks on conference calls were very negative over the last 3 weeks. We are starting to see margin pressure in all kinds of corners of the economy.

    Volatility is low too so I scaled into a net short position by building a September in the money put overlay for my portfolio at 2x leverage.

  36. michael schumacher commented on May 13

    >>BR: Hey, it ain’t me that’s adulterating the coinage . . .>>

    that, my friend, IS the problem. I make some coin off of it as well….I don’t have to like that this strategy of inflate at any cost is failed and will only end up hurting all of us.

    You people honestly think I do not have positions on both sides??? Keep dreaming. This is my job….all of you who do this for a living (and not while at some other job) raise your hands and be counted…….

    As I have stated many times before this is not about being long or short. It is about what is being done to the market to cover up the mistakes of greed and avarice. And it costs ALL of us dearly…..

    As far as proof this is happening?? Look at an intraday of the SPY….pretty obvious that the buyer shows up and buys EVERYTHING at once with the continued “aucitons” taking place to supply them with fresh cash to achieve it. But continue to ignore it and think that it’s a “Free market”….it’s not and has not been for some time.

    This is a systemic problem and the majority of people just look away as long as they profit from it.

    That is just wrong on so many levels.


  37. michael schumacher commented on May 13


    the attitude of ” I can’t find it so it doesn’t exist in that way” has been covered EXTENSIVELY by Mish.

    Show us that it is still free……you can’t

    thanks for Playing


  38. E commented on May 13


    You have fundamental comprehension issues, which again impact the credibility of your repetitive rants. Show me where I said that the market is still free.

    I made no statements for or against the veracity of your conspiracy theories – only commented on your tone, style, and complete lack of interest in providing a detailed case to support your position.

    It’s not criticism of the idea. It’s criticism of you. Do with it what you will.

  39. michael schumacher commented on May 13

    again …..proof of what??? manipulation? fake data submissions?? Ignorance of reality???

    Use your brain……you actually have to think about it to see it. But I see how that is a difficult thing since you require concrete proof.

    I do not need proof to know that the tooth fairy is made up. Apparently you do…

    Good luck with that attitude.


  40. E commented on May 13

    Proof of whatever it is you are alleging. Who is doing it? What are they doing? How are they doing it?

    If you can’t answer those three questions, then you might as well be talking about the tooth fairy.

    Is it really too much to ask that, on a site that regularly delves into numbers and allegations, you bring something to the table? Or do you think the audience here is swayed by the “if you can’t see it you must be an idiot” line of argument?

  41. michael schumacher commented on May 13

    try looking at the various “auctions” the Fed creates with an open mind instead of the BS reason given for it’s creation.

    Start there and you “might” get an idea.

    BTW it’s you who are subscribing to the
    “if you can’t see it you must be an idiot”

    It’s not my job to educate you or any other person….embrace reality instead of ignoring it.

    When you get cash (values set by bank) and then heave it at the market….you see days like yesterday…WAKE UP

    It’s not difficult to put together if you have an open mind.


  42. Mark E Hoffer commented on May 13


    try exercising yourself, and what’s left of your mental acuity, dial up 877 RENT-A-CLU:

    You, then, would be able to read, via their own explanation, how the Federal Reserve operates.. http://www.minneapolisfed.org/info/sys/history/
    note that BR covers, on nearby thread: “Wow, that’s a pretty explicit admission from Gary Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Stern is the co-author of “Too Big To Fail: The Hazards of Bank Bailouts.””

    Further than that, willful ignorance is worse than stupidity..

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