We are just three trading days into 2015 and already investors have been whipsawed by 200 to 300 point intraday swings in the Dow Jones Industrials (^DJI). Investors looking for a little relief are out of luck, cautions Peter Kenny, chief market strategist at Clearpool Group, who expects January’s jitters to persist through the end of the month. “We have other things going on that are going to really drive this volatility conversation,” he notes.
On January 22 the European Central Bank will meet. Late last year ECB President Mario Draghi indicated the central bank would take the necessary steps to prop up the eurozone’s economy. Since then Greece has re-emerged as a fissure to the region, creating a new wrinkle of uncertainty Kenny says. “What does the ECB do to stimulate growth in the European Union and how does it handle Greece?”
Complicating matters, three days later on the 25th, Greek citizens will head to the polls for general elections. “It is very much an EU centric narrative, it's going to impact their markets, it could potentially have a one off on ours,” says Kenny. Many have speculated any stimulus efforts by the ECB will be shelved until the outcome, which could foreshadow whether Greece remains a member of the European Union.
Finally on the 27th global investors will turn their attention to the U.S. when the Federal Reserve hosts its first policy meeting of 2015. “At the end of the day when do we get normalization in rates?” asks Kenny, who notes most economists expect a rate hike in the second half of 2015.
On this same day investors will also get earnings from tech gorilla Apple (AAPL) which almost always influences the broader market averages.
These multiple events likely mean the CBOE Volatility Index (^VIX) will remain elevated throughout the month perhaps clearing the way for a calmer and clearer February.