From the August 01, 2012 issue of Futures Magazine • Subscribe!

Most Actives provide better advance-decline line analysis

In “Most Actives Snapshot” (below), the first table includes the 20 issues reported by Barron’s for the week ending Dec. 31, 1964. Only three of the original 20 stocks are still exchange-listed. In the second table, while only eight of 20 issues for the week ending Jan. 7, 1977 are no longer listed, MAAD computations without those eight issues would have been inaccurate. The third table reports the NYSE 20 Most Actives for the week ending Dec. 9, 2011, but without Nasdaq.

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Because of the data collection and corroboration dilemma, the most practical and accurate method for the retrieval of Most Actives data is the manual extraction from archived issues of Barron’s print and microfilm. This is the method that was used for this article.

Building the line

When Barron’s began publishing the NYSE 20 Most Actives list on a weekly basis, the magazine editors chose the top 20 issues and, for the sake of continuity, that number has remained constant over the years. In contrast, the number of daily NYSE Most Actives reported in The Wall Street Journal has fluctuated between 10 and 30 issues.

Barron’s now offers a wealth of new Most Actives information online, but with that new data comes additional challenges. The Barron’s online list now includes 100 issues from the NYSE, Nasdaq and Amex by share volume, including exchange-traded funds (ETFs), plus another 100 issues from each exchange based on dollar volume. Share volume remains the criteria of choice because that was the methodology originally chosen by Barron’s. Although dollar volume data might provide additional useful information, those data have been available only online from Barron’s for the past several years and there is currently no historical database (right). 

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