Life, the title character proclaims in Shakespeare's "Macbeth," is "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
Whether that accurately describes existence or not may be open to interpretation. But it certainly seems to describe the stock market this year.
The S&P 500 has experienced 72 sessions in which it moved 1 percent or more to either the upside or the downside. That's the largest number of 1 percent moves since 2011. And like 2011, it comes in a year in which the S&P 500 is almost perfectly flat.
For Dennis Davitt of Harvest Volatility Advisors, the big moves are ultimately a result of market structure.
"The markets go until buyer meets seller," Davitt said, meaning that a rise or fall can only be capped by an opposing force in the market. The problem is that "we've made computers as skittish as humans are as traders, and they're just faster at being skittish."
In other words, as much as a red tape might induce a trader to sell, or a green tape might induce a trader to buy, a trading algorithm will make similar decisions to follow along with the herd.
It commonly happens that "we're seeing this 1 percent move, and then everything's OK, and then the 1 percent moves back up." And Davitt predicts "continued volatility until we see a different market structure come in."