The S&P 500 is on pace for its 72nd straight trading session without a gain of 1 percent or more — its longest such streak since early 2007.
The implications of this kind of historical market calm that’s been the subject of much debate across Wall Street this year are concerning to some strategists who believe low volatility (while the market grinds to all-time highs) is the so-called calm before the storm.
The last time the S&P posted a gain larger than 1 percent in a single trading session was on April 24, with a gain of 1.08 percent.
This relative market quiet “definitely” concerns Mark Tepper, founder and president at Strategic Wealth Partners.
“The fact that the VIX is near all-time lows, the fact that volatility is so low … that is really signaling a lot of investor complacency, and that is typically a contrarian indicator. We saw similar levels in the VIX back in 2006, and we all know what happened in 2007,” Tepper said Thursday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.”
In 2006, the CBOE volatility index vacillated between the low 10’s and at one point 23, in mid-June, before quickly falling. The stock market was similarly going stretches of time that year without daily gains and declines greater than 1 percent.
“The market right now seems to be priced for perfection, and it’s not pricing in a lot of those big geopolitical risks … so we are a little bit concerned,” Tepper said, adding that despite this concern his firm is indeed overweight equities and will continue such an overweight position in equities for at least another year or so. But he would expect volatility in the market to pick up over the course of the next year and will then reduce exposure at that time.
But, Tepper said, he would expect volatility in the market to pick up over the course of the next year and will then reduce exposure at that time.
In a note to clients last week that was widely speculated to have sparked a midday sell-off, prominent JPMorgan quantitative and derivatives strategist Marko Kolanovic wrote that low volatility ought to give “pause to equity managers.”
Furthermore, he recommended that investors hedge their portfolios to prepare for a market decline.
To Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak, volatility will likely return to the market, and though he is somewhat concerned with low levels of implied volatility in the VIX, his anxiety is more muted than others.
“Whenever we see a trend take place for an extended period of time, especially a trend that goes against what the historical trend has been for many decades, people like to say, ‘Well, everything’s changed,'” Maley said Thursday on “Trading Nation.”
“We saw it in 1928, when people were talking about how we were going to stay at never-ending high levels. We saw it in the late 1990s, when they said that we were in a new economy and that the tech stocks were going to go up forever. Now we’re talking about … ETFs and how that is going to make sure that volatility stays low forever.”
But it is more likely than not that volatility will return to the market, Maley said, and investors ought not to be complacent.
“I get very nervous when people say, ‘Oh, geez, the volatility is gone. It’s going to be gone forever, so everybody just sit back and relax.’ It will come back. It always does, and I think it always will.”
Source: Investment Cnbc
The S&P 500 just did something it hasn’t done since 2007