Here are the similarities between 2016 and the 2008 financial crisis

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ichard Fuld, Chairman and Chief Executive of Lehman Brothers Holdings

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files

2016 has a been a jittery, volatile year so far for markets.

The trouble began with circuit-breaker halts in Chinese stock markets and continued with a bank rout in Europe.

George Soros, one of the world's most successful investors, said in January that he saw similarities with financial pressures that built up before the 2008 financial crisis.

"I would say it amounts to a crisis. When I look at the financial markets there is a serious challenge which reminds me of the crisis we had in 2008," Soros said in Sri Lanka.

While things haven't got that bad yet, analysts at investment bank Jefferies decided to take a look at all the market indicators that were returning to levels not seen since the 2008 financial crisis.

Here are the main ones:

  • Investors Intelligence net bullishness, or optimism about the market, is -14, a low not seen since March 2009.
  • The yield offered companies in the utilities sector relative to the broader S&P 500 is in line with the lows seen in 2008.
  • US markets have hit more 52-week lows than seen in 2008 and 2009.
  • The difference or spread between the S&P dividend yield and the 10-year US treasury yield is close to the levels seen in 2008 and 2009.
  • The percentage of NYSE stocks closing above their 200-day moving average price is 15, the lowest reading since 2011 and before that 2008.
  • The number of executives buying stock in their own company compared to those selling is the highest since 2011, and before that 2009.
  • High yield debt is perceived as being at its most risky since 2008 and 2009, according to the difference in yield investors are requiring to buy the debt.

While the Jefferies analysts are at pains to point out that "this is 2016 not 2008," it's worth noting just how many market indicators are taking us back to the low points of the last decade.

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