So much for the “fear trade.”
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), often referred to as “the Fear Index,” had its biggest one day move in over a year as tension around the world mounted at warp speed. But a strange thing happened on the way to Armageddon. Everyone took a deep breath, and stocks rallied.
The VIX is a measure of market volatility. The more people think the market will move, the higher the VIX goes. Just weeks ago, the VIX hit its lowest level in almost eight years.
Can the VIX continue to stay on the low end? One of the street's top technicians doesn't think so.
“I think the VIX can creep higher again,” said Ari Wald, head of technical analysis at Oppenheimer. “We have been preparing our clients for higher volatility.”
Wald sees any spike in the VIX toward 20 as buying opportunities in the S&P 500.
“Typically, bull markets’ tops do not start when VIX is coming off such a low level,” Wald said. “Spikes are our opportunities here. We think the bull [market] is intact and the volatility is your tactical opportunities. “
Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global, doesn’t believe the VIX does its job signaling volatility. “When there is very strong positive sentiment—which I believe there is underlying the market—the VIX really isn’t a great measure of risk,” she said. “You have to recognize that right now these geopolitical tensions are entirely underpriced.”
Sanchez believes the market is closer to a top than a bottom. “We’re climbing the wall of worry,” she said. “But there are so many underlying factors—fundamentals that don’t line up with where the pricing is and where the valuation is on the S&P 500—that I do think that we are setting ourselves up for a potential nasty correction at some point.”
To see the full discussion on the VIX and S&P 500, with Wald on the technicals and Sanchez on the fundamentals, watch the above video.