My focus is: What has changed? if I see no change in the direction of the trend of volatility, then we just go with the flow.
Realized (historical) and implied volatility (VIX) has settled down on the and it’s reflected in a Bollinger Bands contraction.
Periods of low volatility are often followed by periods of high volatility.
The empirical evidence is observed visually in this chart.
Volatility trends in cycles up and down, so they oscillate between high and low levels and can reach extreme highs and extreme lows. I believe volatility expansions are driven by indecision and vol contractions are driven by complacency decisiveness.
Small-cap stocks have been leading the way trending with momentum, but they’ve also declined a little more the past few days. Like the S&P 500 the Russell 2000 is showing contracting volatility after a big volatility expansion.
Gold has been trending up gradually. I focus on the rate of change and momentum. However, recently Gold has declined sharp enough to indicate a short term volatility expansion.
Emerging Markets has less of a rate of change than the higher momentum U.S. stocks, but volatility is also contracted.
After a killer uptrend and momentum expansion last 2018 when stocks were falling, the Long Term Treasury ETF (TLT) has settled down into a non-trending period. It’s dropped below the volatility band, so maybe it will reverse up again. TLT is an example of a non-trending low vol condition, so we’ll expect a breakout from this range at some point.
Wanna see an example of an uptrend with low volatility? ETFs like SHV is a short-term U.S. Treasury bond ETF with remaining maturities between one month and one year. It’s smooth, but with low risk, comes low potential reward. However, it’s a good example of a defensive position when it’s time for Risk-Off. It’s also probably a competitor to bank CDs and money markets.
Before you get too excited, here is the growth of $10,000 invested in the iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF (SHV) 10 years ago! With interest rates so low driving down the yield, it only grew to $10,380 because the interest rate was so low.
The good news for low-risk savers who invested their money in Treasury Bonds, their interest rates are trending up, so the yield is increased to nearly 2%.
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