Over the past week the CBOE Market Volatility Index aka the VIX (see chart below) has risen over 35%. Not too surprising considering the upcoming elections and the daily rhetoric that has been hitting the wires. What is surprising to me is that even though volatility has spiked recently, the markets have not really dropped. Isn’t how this is supposed to work? Increase in vol equals lower stock prices? The Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart), the S&P 500 (chart) and the Nasdaq (chart) all remain within striking distance of all-time highs and so far these key indices do not seem to be too bothered by the daily political headlines. Even Friday’s surprising if not shocking news that F.B.I. director James Comey has re-opened the Hillary Clinton email case could not rattle the markets. Although this particular headline did send stocks sharply lower in the late afternoon trading on Friday only to find support and close off of the lows.
I will say this; I am even more surprised that yesterday we did not see a sell-off in stocks after everyone had time to digest the news over the weekend. Stock market pundits continue to claim that the markets have priced in a Clinton victory and that her taking the White House in general will be bullish for stocks. I tend to agree with this however; my concern is will this be a “sell the news” event? I will also be paying closer attention to the polls this week to see if the Trump campaign closes in on the Clinton lead. This too can be a market moving dynamic. So as the VIX continues to lift and as we get closer to November 8th, I will error on the side of caution and lighten up any long positions and wait to see how this election plays out. Let’s also see how the markets react and respond to the election results and then come up with a game plan into year-end. Good luck to all 🙂