Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Hartnett even made a comparison to the late-1960s social and economic upheaval in the note to clients Friday. The widely followed strategist believes traders should watch gold and fixed income yields as the "tell" that trouble is ahead.
"Watch (as then) for the combo of rising yields and rising gold prices to signal impending market volatility (note also both 1973-74 stock market crash & 1987 Black Monday preceded by three quarters of rising bond yields & rising gold)," he wrote.
Hartnett doesn't quite think the market will falter yet unless the Fed starts to aggressively raise rates or Trump's agenda completely falls apart.
For investors who want to trade a coming volatility surge, there are certain ETFs that can do well in those periods. Using hedge fund analytics tool Kensho, we looked at what happened to major ETFs when the VIX moved higher by 3 points in five days, something that's occurred more than 100 times in the last decade.
Be careful with the first security in the result, the ProShares Short S&P 500. That ETF uses derivatives to bet against the S&P 500 with its goal to equal the exact inverse of the benchmark's daily return.
— CNBC's John Melloy contributed to this story.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal, parent of CNBC, is a minority investor in Kensho.