Today is the day the United Kingdom votes if it wants to leave the European Union or not. During the past few weeks, this event has dominated the headlines, and at this time tomorrow we’ll know the results. To say market activity leading up to the vote has been unique would be an understatement. Some extremely rare events have taken place recently. Here are a few that stood out to us.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) gained more than 14% yesterday, while the S&P 500 dropped only 0.17%. The last time there was a day like this occurred 19 years ago.
- The S&P 500 is up 0.5% over the past 20 days, yet the VIX has soared 46.8%. Only once in history has the S&P 500 been green over 20 days while the VIX gained more—in January 1999. The S&P 500 gained 10.2% in the next three months following that occurrence.
- The VIX has gained more than 46% over 20 days 259 times since 1990. The average S&P 500 drop during those 20 days is -7.9%. Yesterday and January 25, 1999, were the only two times the S&P 500 was positive for those 20 days.
- The S&P 500 hasn’t moved 1% (up or down) in 20 consecutive days. That is the longest streak in 19 months (and that last streak eventually made it to 26 days). 1995 holds the record at 95 straight days without a 1% move.
- The S&P 500 hasn’t dropped 1% in 53 straight days. That is the longest streak since 66 straight during the summer of 2014.
- How rare was last week? The S&P 500 dropped more than 1% for the week, while utilities and telecom were both higher. Going back 14 years, the S&P 500 has dropped 1% for the week 180 times and only 11 times (including last week) were both utilities and telecom higher.
- The London FTSE 100 Index is up for five straight days for the first time this year heading into this vote. This is also the best five-day return (+6.4% as of this morning) since coming off of the February lows.
Activity leading up to the Brexit vote has been unique. A better word might be strange, rare, confusing, or even frustrating. Whichever way you describe the market activity leading up to this event, the bottom line is, the reaction to it will be anything but boring.