Eq: Total Market

A perplexing situation is the sanguine state of volatility despite a torrent of risks and negative headlines such as deep stress in the banking system due to an inverted yield curve, rising recession risk, inflation, a hawkish Fed, geopolitical concerns, and a looming debt ceiling deadline. 

In Barron’s, Lauren Foster covered some recent comments from Vanguard on the debt ceiling and its impact on volatility. According to the asset manager, more volatility is likely but there’s little to worry about in terms of a default on the debt as it believes an agreement will be reached. However, it sees volatility rising into the deadline.

It also believes that the deadline could be shifted later or that a temporary agreement could be reached. Even if a technical default happens, it’s unlikely that the US would not meet its obligations but it could affect the timing of a payment. But, the asset manager doesn’t think that investors should worry about this scenario. Instead, they should focus on good risk management practices and sticking to their long-term investment plan. 


Finsum: Volatility has remained subdued despite the market facing considerable risks. Vanguard shares its perspective on the matter and how a debt ceiling breach would play out.

 

There are considerable headwinds facing the stock market and economy such as a hawkish Fed, uncomfortably high inflation, debt ceiling deadline, an upcoming election year, increasing risk of a recession, a potential regional banking crisis, and geopolitical tensions. 

Yet, the volatility index has trended lower for much of the year and is now at its lowest levels in over a year. Ron Isbitts covered this matter and why it could be an opportunity for ETF investors in an article for ETF.com.

If investors believe that volatility is mispriced, then there are some different volatility ETFs to consider. The ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF offers exposure to volatility over the next 1-2 months. The ProShares VIX Mid-Term Futures ETF holds volatility contracts with a duration of 3 to 6 months. 

There are also ETFs for those with a variant view. The ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF moves inversely to volatility, allowing holders to profit from falling volatility. For those who want to generate income from volatility, the Simplify Volatility Premium ETF also tracks volatility but also produces a dividend for holders. 

Note that these ETFs tend to have slippage, high costs, and underperform the S&P 500 over the long-term. Thus, they are best used tactically and with discretion.


Finsum: Volatility is declining despite several potent risks for the market. There are several options for investors to consider.

 

Someone say doomsday scenario?

Or at least strongly imply it?

Democrat; Republican -- you can just shunt the ideologies aside. Both have a separate point of view with no end in sight in order to circumvent default as the government edges toward its so-called debt ceiling x-date, according to cnn.com. That, of course, is when the Treasury could find its pockets empty, meaning paying all government obligations would require extraordinary measures.

Okay, so while the odds still are relatively low that the government will default on its debt, Wall Street’s no fan of the impact the equity markets would feel in light of debates flashing no indications that the credits are anywhere near rolling.

Meantime, investors should devote rapt attention over the next few weeks and, as one expert suggests, stand poised to become “a bit more defensive,” according to cnbc.com.

At this point, at least, setting aside the fact the short term Treasurys have priced in reluctance, significant volatility isn’t necessarily in the cards as far as the markets are concerned.

“Congress was willing to play the game of chicken, but there were fewer members of Congress actually willing to crash the car,” said Betsey Stevenson, professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan.

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