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What is Market Sentiment? Analysis, Indicators, How to trade

Written by - Marisha Bhatt

August 19, 2023 5 minutes

If you are a regular viewer of stock market related news, you would have definitely heard the term ‘market sentiment’ and how important it is to account for it while trading. Market sentiment has the ability to make or break a company as well as change the direction of the index altogether. So what is the meaning of this market sentiment and is there any way to analyse it? Check out this blog to know more and how to trade using the same to make a successful trading portfolio. 

Read More: Indian Financial Market-Recent Trends and Roles

What is the meaning of market sentiment?

The meaning of market sentiment is the overall emotional and psychological attitude of investors and traders towards a particular financial market or assets, such as stocks, commodities, or currencies. It reflects how people feel about the potential direction and future performance of these assets. Just like people’s moods can influence their decisions in everyday life, market sentiment influences how investors make decisions about buying or selling financial instruments. 

Market sentiment is like the collective feeling of the crowd – whether they are optimistic, pessimistic, or uncertain about the prices of the items being traded. This feeling can be influenced by various factors like news, economic data, political events, and even rumors.

For instance, if there’s positive news about the economy, like strong GDP  growth or a new government policy that’s expected to boost business, the sentiment in the market might turn optimistic. People may feel more confident about buying because they believe prices will go up. This could lead to a rise in demand and prices of assets. On the other hand, any negative news can lead to negative market sentiment which can also translate into more selling than buying causing the prices in general to fall. 

What are the major factors that influence market sentiments?

Major factors influencing market sentiments include economic indicators, corporate earnings reports, geopolitical events, government policies, interest rates, news coverage, and overall investor emotions, all of which collectively impact investors’ perceptions of market prospects and drive their buying and selling decisions.

While market sentiment is the general mood of the stock markets, it is possible to measure the same using technical analysis indicators. Some of such indicators and the way to analyse market sentiment using these indicators are explained hereunder. 

Put-Call Ratio (PCR)

The Put-Call Ratio measures the relative trading volume of put options (contracts betting on price declines) to call options (contracts betting on price increases) in the options market. A high PCR suggests that traders are buying more puts, indicating a potentially bearish sentiment. Conversely, a low PCR may imply a bullish sentiment, as traders are favoring call options.

Volatility Index (VIX)

The Volatility Index, often referred to as the “fear index,” gauges the market’s expectation of volatility over the near term. It’s represented by the VIX. A higher VIX signifies heightened uncertainty and nervousness in the market, indicating negative sentiment. Conversely, a lower VIX suggests greater market stability and potentially positive sentiment.

Breadth Indicators

Breadth indicators assess the overall participation of stocks in a market move. One example is the Advance-Decline Line (ADL), which measures the number of advancing stocks versus declining stocks. A positive ADL could indicate widespread buying and positive sentiment, while a negative ADL might suggest the opposite.

Moving Averages

Moving averages are trend-following indicators that smooth out price data over a specified period. Short-term moving averages crossing above long-term moving averages could signal positive sentiment and an uptrend. Conversely, the opposite crossover might indicate negative sentiment and a potential downtrend.

Market Sentiment Indices

Some financial firms create proprietary sentiment indices that combine various sentiment-related factors into a single metric. These indices aim to provide a comprehensive view of market sentiment trends.

News and Social Media Monitoring

Tracking financial news articles, social media discussions, and sentiment analysis tools can provide a sense of prevailing sentiment. Positive news and optimistic discussions often align with bullish sentiment, while negative news and pessimistic discussions can reflect bearish sentiment.

What is the effect of market sentiment on stock prices?

Market sentiment can significantly influence stock prices as it shapes investors’ decisions to buy or sell. Positive sentiment can drive buying and push prices higher, while negative sentiment can lead to selling and lower prices, often amplifying short-term market movements.

How to trade using market sentiment?

Trading using market sentiment is like going with the flow. It involves using the emotional attitudes of investors to guide your trading decisions. When sentiment is positive, indicating optimism, traders might buy assets, anticipating price increases. Conversely, in negative sentiment, traders might sell or short assets, expecting price drops. Traders use various modes to analyse market sentiments like sentiment indicators, volume, market breadth, candlestick patterns, and more. However, traders should remember to blend sentiment analysis with technical and fundamental analysis, as well as set clear profit and loss targets and manage risk through proper position sizing and stop-loss strategies for successful trading in the Indian market.

Can traders solely rely on sentiment indicators for their trading decisions?

While sentiment indicators provide valuable insights, traders should not solely rely on them for trading decisions. Combining sentiment analysis with technical and fundamental analysis can offer a more comprehensive view, enhancing the accuracy of trading strategies and risk management.


The primary basis to buy or sell a security is to understand its price and volume movements along with the fundamental analysis of the same. Therefore relying solely on market sentiment cannot be feasible. However, market sentiment can show a general mood or direction of the market for making effective trading decisions. 

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