Global Macro: Volatility Lurks; Correction Is Likely

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. equity markets have extended their winning streak to four months, but low volumes and lack of a catalyst could add more volatility this week. The chart below shows Guggenheim S&P Equal Weight ETF ( RSP) over SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY). This chart represents market breadth, or in simpler terms, how many stocks are participating in the rally. As the indicator rises, it signals that a large number of stocks are taking part in the move higher.

The indicator has recently broken out of a multi-month consolidation and looks to be pushing upward. Although contrarians will point to an overvalued market as reason for a large pullback, the strength of the rally indicates that it has the steam to continue rising. If the market does see a pullback in the next few days or weeks, due to something said by Ben Bernanke at his congressional testimony or poor economic data, the downside is limited by the strong support line below. In essence, a pullback is possible, especially due to the overbought nature of the market, but any pullback should be limited to a minor correction, not a trend reversal.



Volatility has been gradually declining as markets have experienced their four-week run. The S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN ( VXX) is a good options measure for equity market volatility, but another useful indicator comes by way of the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ( XLU) over the S&P Equal Weight ETF. The pair moves in a strong inverse to U.S. equity market, similar to the VIX.

The price action has approached lows that, until earlier this year, hadn't been breached since 2011. With volatility hitting a bottom and markets falling on the side of overbought, it would not be unreasonable to see a pickup in near-term volatility, and a pullback in U.S. markets.

Waning strength in the Nasdaq gives further evidence to an equity market pullback. The pair below compares Nasdaq-100 Equal Weighted Index Fund ( QQEW) to Nasdaq-100 Index Fund ( QQQ). The Nasdaq is a market-cap weighted index, so it naturally is dominated by Apple ( AAPL). However, when you look at the equal weight index over the normal-weighted index, it shows the true market strength.

The pair has held steady throughout 2013, but looks to be approaching support lines. If the price action breaks support, it could trigger a selloff in the other equity markets.

The final chart is of SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD) over an equal-weight DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund ( DBC). This pair is taking a beating as the U.S. dollar continues to show strength and equities drift higher. Monday, however, saw a strong bounce off of yearly lows. Investors are recognizing that at these levels, the lack of a catalyst leaves markets vulnerable. Reallocating toward gold, if only for the short term, is a way to avoid a pullback in U.S. equities. As fear returns to markets, the bullion should catch a bid higher.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Andrew Sachais' focus is on analyzing markets with global macro-based strategies. Sachais is a chief investment strategist and portfolio manager at the start-up fund, Satch Kapital Investments. The fund uses ETF's traded on the U.S. stock market to gain exposure to both domestic and foreign assets. His strategy takes into consideration global equity, commodity, currency and debt markets. Sachais is a senior at Georgetown University earning a degree in Economics.

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