Everyone’s been on the wrong side of the fence—avoid crowded trades: Strategist

A surprise vote from Britain in favor of leaving the EU sent global markets into disarray on Friday.

The S&P 500 was down 2.3 percent, bond yields tumbled and gold surged. The CBOE Volatility Index spiked as high as 26 following the result, and according to one analyst, rampant volatility will continue.

"[The surge in the VIX] will push stocks down and U.S. bonds up," Erin Gibbs of S&P Global told CNBC's "Trading Nation" producers on Friday. "VIX first, followed by bonds," she added.

The British referendum on European Union membership, also known as the Brexit, created risk in both the bond market and the VIX in the weeks leading up to the vote. Polls closed at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday and news outlets called the results in favor of Brexit leave around midnight Friday morning.

Gibbs said although U.S. stocks were highly valued around the globe, concerns about larger global destabilization as a result of Britain voting to leave the E.U. could push investors out of equities.

Larry McDonald of ACG Analytics said the Brexit risk created strong sell signals from bonds.

"A Brexit risk created a blowoff top in bonds that started to form over the past week—a classic blowoff top where you see real panic buying, where you've seen close to 10 trillion dollars in bonds globally," McDonald said on CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Thursday.

McDonald said now is the time to avoid crowded trades, like long bonds and long volatility. Now, traders should look at short bonds and avoid buying volatility.

"The fact that there's a Brexit, everyone got caught on the wrong side," he added.

Gibbs said she was surprised that the U.S. 10-year bond was trading lower Friday morning.

"I would have expected that to hold up better. But given we are heading into a more risk-off environment, I would expect U.S. bonds to outpace equities, for the time being," Gibbs said.


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Sara Eisen

Sara Eisen joined CNBC in December 2013 as a correspondent, focusing on the global consumer. She is co-anchor of the 10AM ET hour of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET), broadcast from Post 9 at the New York Stock Exchange.

In March 2018, Eisen was named co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET), which broadcasts from CNBC Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

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