When looking at the volatility index over six months, the spikes in June and December appear to indicate a jump in investor fear of market volatility. But when shown in a five-year time span, the recent volatility upswings are small moves in the index. Investor fears spiked to almost 81 in November 2008, during the recession, indicating investors expected swings in the stock market of up to 81 percent.

Source: Bloomberg | The Washington Post January 4, 2013
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