After a mixed and perhaps even confounding jobs report took a bite out of stocks, traders and strategists say the era of low volatility and effortless rallying could finally be drawing to a close.
"There's definitely a different tone in the market this year as compared to last year," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group, said Friday. "We got a disappointing jobs number, but people still think the Fed is going to taper, despite an uneven recovery."
If this were 2013, Boockvar added, the market would have rallied on a weak number because it would have meant the Fed was going to continue to do what it had been doing.
On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a jobs report that read like a "good news, bad news" joke. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 74,000, far short of economists' expectations that some 200,000 jobs were created. But while most economists expected the unemployment rate to stay put at 7.0 percent, it actually dipped 6.7 percent, the lowest since 2008.
Theories on what caused the weak number varied, with most economists suggesting that bad weather must have played a role, but that doesn't explain the entire drop from November's 241,000 new jobs (revised up by 38,000 in Friday's report).
"I think there's going to be weather-related anomalies in the next few jobs reports as well," predicted Jim Iuorio of TJM Institutional Services. "So the lack of clarity is going to cause people to trade defensively."
(Read more: Fed officials could ignore ugly jobs report—for now)
For Jeff Kilburg of KKM Financial, the report could signal more shaky markets ahead.
"I think we should see more and more volatile numbers, which will translate into more and more volatile markets," he said.
Volatility was certainly muted in 2013. The CBOE Volatility Index never reached higher than 22 in 2013, which was a big contrast from the 48 reading seen in 2011, much less than the high of 90 in 2008. And last March, the VIX—which measures expected volatility and is sometimes referred to as the "fear index"—touched a six-year low.