Michael A. Gayed, CFA

About the Author Michael A. Gayed, CFA

Michael A. Gayed, CFA, winner of the 2014 Dow Award and 3rd Place Wagner, is chief investment strategist and co-portfolio manager at Pension Partners, LLC., an investment advisor which manages mutual funds and separate accounts according to its ATAC (Accelerated Time and Capital) strategies. Prior to this role, Gayed served as a portfolio manager for a large international investment group, trading long/short investment ideas in an effort to capture excess returns. From 2004 to 2008, Gayed was a strategist at AmeriCap Advisers LLC, a registered investment advisory firm that managed equity portfolios for large institutional clients. In 2007, he launched his own long/short hedge fund, using various trading strategies focused on taking advantage of stock market anomalies. Follow him on Twitter @pensionpartners and YouTube youtube.com/pensionpartners. He has re-released his father's 1990 book Intermarket Analysis and Investing, now available on Amazon.com.

SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY): Am I The Only One Nervous About The Markets?

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.” – Thucydides

Welcome to the Great Tranquility ladies and gentlemen. Now start getting very afraid.

As Charlie Bilello (Twitter: @CharlieBilello) noted recently, the S&P 500 hasn’t had a 1% intraday move since December 14. This is the longest period of intraday calm…in history.

We went from immense fear over a Donald Trump presidency to historic calm. We went from “America first” to emerging markets far outperforming. Everything thus far that dominated investor psyche in terms of narrative ended up being quite literally the exact opposite.

Now ask yourself – can this calm behavior in markets continue? Maybe, but volatility is notoriously mean reverting. Combined with high valuations and enormous complacency, we are likely nearing a time of great turbulence ahead, at least for US markets as a secular shift in emerging market leadership begins to take hold (and is long overdue). Amazing how the two overriding beliefs of the Fed hiking rates and a Donald Trump presidency being hurtful for emerging markets has led us to a 9-year low in emerging market high yield credit spreads. So much for that nonsense.

Whatever you think is going to happen, best be prepared for something completely unexpected. In markets, there is a tendency to always react rather than anticipate. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” dominates how investors view their portfolios, chasing past winners and looking at prior returns as an anchor for what to position in. But more often than not, you don’t know if your portfolio is broken until it’s too late. Logic dictates one should prepare for multiple scenarios through diversification and risk management. Unfortunately, few do this. Instead, investors get more optimistic and bullish after a bull run has already happened. Funny how a 30% rise from the February lows last year now makes people positive on stocks.

The point of maximum risk is the point when everyone believes there is no risk. This does not imply an imminent decline. Rather it implies one should manage expectations for what happens next, and plan for alternate scenarios. Don’t get caught up in the euphoria of higher prices. Get excited for lower ones.

This writing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell, a solicitation to buy, or a recommendation regarding any securities transaction, or as an offer to provide advisory or other services by Pension Partners, LLC in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation, purchase or sale would be unlawful under the securities laws of such jurisdiction. The information contained in this writing should not be construed as financial or investment advice on any subject matter. Pension Partners, LLC expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken based on any or all of the information on this writing.

Related tickers: SPY, VXX, VIXY

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