2015 - Who Stole the Volatility?

If you read my past posts you are familiar with my continual reference to muted daily volatility. The days of panicky buying or selling have been absent from the U.S. stock market so far this entire year. I have lots of ideas why, but that will be left for another day.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index hasn’t posted a gain or loss of 2 percent or more for 128 days, the longest streak since one ending in February 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Deutsche Bank AG. The last time the gauge went without a 2 percent move in the first half of the year was in 2005.

The last time U.S. stocks closed up or down more than 2 percent was on Dec. 18, last year when the S&P 500 climbed 2.4 percent. That week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank is likely to hold rates near zero at least through the first quarter, sparking the biggest three-day surge in global equities in two and a half years.

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The number of days when the S&P 500 rose or fell more than 2 percent (on a closing basis)

Investors waiting for big equity swings may be out of luck until September, with the Fed hinting they are not likely to raise rates until then, their first in nine years. Low volatility in this catalyst-heavy June is likely to be followed by more low realized volatility in the catalyst-light July and August if the Greece situation passes without contagion.   If not, get prepared.

After tripling between March 2009 and the end of last year, the S&P 500 is up just over 3% since then.  This has had the effect of creating the longest consolidation in the SP500 with a 4.6% range since 1950.

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Long consolidation periods in stock indexes are typically bullish patterns that eventually resolve higher.  Where they tend to fail though is when they form at the top of a trend (something that is only known in hindsight) which is where we are now. Now is not the time to be lulled into complacency as that is usually when the market decides to shake things up. Invest Safe!