What Is a Put Call Ratio?|ManualTrader

What Is a Put Call Ratio?

1978 ManualTrader

The put-call ratio is a technical indicator that measures investor sentiment. This ratio shows the proportion of call options versus put options. This can be calculated for individual stocks, an index, or an aggregated group of stocks. This metric can help you understand what investors think about a particular stock or index. However, before you can use the put-call for stock trading, you should know what it is and how to use it.

The put-call ratio is an important contrarian indicator. When it reaches a high number, it indicates that market sentiment is very bearish. The traders believe that the market will adjust to this trend once short positions switch over to long positions. It will eventually go down and face a downturn. But it's important to note that the put-call ratio does not represent the exact price of stocks and other financial assets.

The put-call ratio is calculated by dividing the total trading volume for call options by the total volume of put options. The result shows how many put options were purchased by investors relative to the calls. This is a popular indicator for contrarian investors. A high number means more traders are betting against the underlying, while a low number indicates an overly bullish sentiment. The ratio is a great way to gauge market sentiment.

A high put-call ratio indicates that a stock is bullish but also has a high level of bearishness. When the ratio is too low, it means that more people are buying calls. This means that more investors are selling their stocks. A high put-call ratio means that the market is overly bullish. A low one means that investors are buying and selling. A low one, on the other hand, indicates that it's time to sell.

A low Put-Call ratio means that there are more bearish traders than bullish traders. This is a signal to buy more put options. A high PCR indicates that the market is bullish while a low ratio indicates that it's oversold. The ratio is a crucial indicator when you want to make a wise investment. When the PCR is high, it means the market is oversold.

The put-call ratio is a useful tool for investors. It measures the amount of put options in comparison to call options in the market. A high put-call ratio indicates that there is a strong bearish sentiment in the market. A low put-call ratio, on the other hand, means that more bullish investors are buying more puts. And a high put-call-call-ratio is an indication of a rising or falling trend.

Special Considerations

The put-call ratio helps investors gauge market sentiment before the market turns. However, it's important to look at the demand for both the numerator (the puts) and the denominator (the calls). 

The number of call options is found in the denominator of the ratio. That means a reduction in the number of traded calls will increase the value of the ratio. This is significant because fewer calls being bought can push the ratio higher without an increased number of puts being purchased. In other words, we don't need to see a large number of puts being purchased for the ratio to rise.

As bullish traders sit on the sidelines, the result by default is that there are more bearish traders in the market. It doesn't necessarily mean the market is bearish, but rather that bullish traders are in a wait-and-see mode until an upcoming event occurs like an election, a Fed meeting, or a release of economic data. 


A put option gets the trader the right to sell an asset at a preset price.

A call option is a right to buy an asset at a preset price.

If traders are buying more puts than calls, it signals a rise in bearish sentiment.

If they are buying more calls than puts, watch out for a bull market ahead.

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