One of the most interesting developments across speculative positioning in the past weeks has been the reversal in net positioning in US stock futures.

chart 1On an unsmoothed basis speculators most recently turned net short S&P 500 futures for the first time since October 2012 (although they increased their bullish bets slightly following the non-taper at the Fed).  On a smoothed basis and including positioning in Dow Jones futures, net long speculative positioning has now declined for 5 months running.

As we can see from the chart below, speculators are now almost flat S&P 500 futures after sitting substantially net long only a month ago.

chart 2Relative to a market which has been grinding higher, this signals caution. This is especially the case as we have recently seen speculators flirting with outright net short positions in US stock futures. Finally, this development sits well with our most recent thematic piece on the Ugly Wager of staying long US equities.