Market Insider

Are stock market swings the new (or old) normal?


If you don't like the direction the stock market is going, wait a few minutes.

"The volatility that we've been seeing the last six to eight weeks, I think we'll be seeing more of that as everybody reconciles earnings data, economic data, Russia, China—it depends on the time of the day," said Paul Nolte, senior vice president, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management.

"We've got so much all week, not just earnings but economic data as well, so there is going to be a lot of shiny objects for investors to watch," Nolte added of numbers that on Tuesday include quarterly reports from Merck and Twitter, along with economic reports on consumer confidence and housing.

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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"The market is getting a lot of stuff thrown at it. I expect volatility continues to increase as the summer goes on," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners.

But at least one veteran market watcher downplayed the notion that Wall Street is being whiplashed by wild swings.

"I keep hearing that volatility has returned to the market. Maybe, if you just started trading," Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, wrote in an emailed commentary.

Daily volatility, as measured by the daily high price divided by the low price, has increased to an average 0.95 percent from last year's 0.85 percent. In 2012 it was 1.07 percent, and in 2010 it was 1.64 percent, according to Silverblatt, who calculates the 50-year average at 1.47 percent, or 50 percent more than the current year.

"The increased perception is due to last year's low volatility, which was the lowest since 1995," Silverblatt concluded.

—By CNBC's Kate Gibson.