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Bumpy ride ahead for stocks. How to play it

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

This year has been a snoozer for U.S. stocks with the S&P 500 up 1 percent for 2015, but that may soon change, according to market watchers.

While stocks continue to trade sideways, volatility in bonds, oil and currencies has been anything but subdued.

WTI crude oil, for example, fell 18 percent through the middle of March then turned and rallied 30 percent from there through Tuesday. Similar erratic moves have taken place among bonds and currencies.

But as those areas of the market unravel, strategists predict stocks are next.

"We still think it is unlikely that U.S. equities can sustain a breakout to fresh all-time highs without first cycling through a period of higher volatility" wrote Jim Strugger, derivatives strategist at MKM Partners, in a note to clients this week.