GO
Loading...

Here’s how incredibly quiet stocks are right now

Justin Horrocks | iStock | Getty Images

It is no secret that markets have been almost eerily quiet for some time. But there's quiet—and then there's dead.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 is trading in a mere 0.2 percent range. If that sounds small, it is. In fact, according to technician Jonathan Krinsky of MKM Partners, this range ties Dec. 30, 2013, for the title of narrowest S&P 500 range going back to 1992.

Wednesday's S&P range is also tied for fourth with Dec. 30, 2013, on the list of four narrowest ranges dating back to 1982.

The calendar certainly has something to do with it. The equity markets close at 1 p.m. on Thursday, ahead of the July Fourth holiday. The other recent day with similarly mild trading came a day before New Year's Eve.

That said, the tight range comports with a broader and much-discussed trend in 2014: declining volatility.

"It's a very frustrating situation from a traders' perspective, and not just because of less opportunities to make money," said Chicago-based trader Jim Iuorio. "Traders know that markets need to occasionally release built-up pressure in the form of a correction. When this does not happen, particularly for inorganic reasons, the pressure continues to build."


The primary "inorganic reason" Iuorio refers to is the Federal Reserve, which not only continues to dampen interest rates, but is also committed to keeping the markets calm.

Indeed, in a Wednesday lecture hosted by the International Monetary Fund, Fed Chair Janet Yellen pledged: "We will try to conduct our monetary policy, and communicate about it … in a manner that is understandable to financial markets to avoid the kind of surprises that cause jumps in interest rates, that could cause such capital flows."

It is fitting, then, that her comments coincided with one of the lowest-volatility days of the year.


—By CNBC's Alex Rosenberg.

Watch "Futures Now" Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1 p.m. ET exclusively on FuturesNow.CNBC.com!

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
S&P 500
---

Featured

Contact Futures Now

  • Showtimes

    Watch Futures Now Tuesdays & Thursdays 1p ET exclusively on cnbc.com!

Sponsor Links

  • CME Group brings buyers and sellers together through its CME Globex electronic trading platform and trading facilities in New York and Chicago.

  • Take your trading to the next level with a platform that lets you trade stocks, options, futures and forex all in one place with no platform or data with no trade minimums. Open an account with TD Ameritrade and get up to $600 cash.