S&P500 Mini Speculators were cutting back on their bullish bets in December

February 3, 2019

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S&P500 Mini Non-Commercial Speculator Positions:

Large stock market speculators sharply reduced their bullish net positions in the S&P500 Mini futures markets in late December, according to the latest Commitment of Traders (COT) data released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday.

This latest COT data is from late in December due to the government shutdown which halted the releases. The CFTC will be releasing data on Tuesdays and Fridays going forward until the data is back up to date.

The non-commercial futures contracts of S&P500 Mini futures, traded by large speculators and hedge funds, totaled a net position of 170,218 contracts in the data reported through Tuesday December 24th. This was a weekly decline of -40,048 net contracts from the previous week which had a total of 210,266 net contracts.

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The week’s net position was the result of the gross bullish position (longs) lowering by -21,942 contracts to a weekly total of 458,224 contracts compared to the gross bearish position (shorts) which saw an increase by 18,106 contracts for the week to a total of 288,006 contracts.

The speculative net position declined sharply in the December 24th data that coincided with a strong decline in prices in the same period. The speculator position standing fell under the +200,000 contract level for three out of the last four weeks through late December.

S&P500 Mini Commercial Positions:

The commercial traders position, hedgers or traders engaged in buying and selling for business purposes, totaled a net position of -290,231 contracts on the week. This was a weekly change of 61,558 contracts from the total net of -351,789 contracts reported the previous week.

S&P500 Mini Futures:

Over the same weekly reporting time-frame, from Tuesday to Tuesday, the S&P500 Mini Futures (Front Month) closed at approximately $2341.75 which was a drop of $-196.25 from the previous close of $2538.0, according to unofficial market data.

*COT Report: The COT data, released weekly to the public each Friday, is updated through the most recent Tuesday (data is 3 days old) and shows a quick view of how large speculators or non-commercials (for-profit traders) as well as the commercial traders (hedgers & traders for business purposes) were positioned in the futures markets. The CFTC categorizes trader positions according to commercial hedgers (traders who use futures contracts for hedging as part of the business), non-commercials (large traders who speculate to realize trading profits) and nonreportable traders (usually small traders/speculators). Find CFTC criteria here: (http://www.cftc.gov/MarketReports/CommitmentsofTraders/ExplanatoryNotes/index.htm).

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