Do you pay attention to market volatility or monitor the level of investor fear? Traditionally, the VIX (CBOE S&P 500 30-day volatility index) has been investors' main tool for measuring market volatility. The higher the VIX, the more investors are worried about a down move in stocks. But now, investors have several tools available to them for tracking volatility. In fact, the CBOE recently launched to new S&P 500 volatility indices to go along with the VIX and the VXV (S&P 500 3-month volatility). With the addition of the VXST (9-day volatility) and the VXMT (6-month volatility), the entire volatility term structure of the S&P 500 can be tracked. The term structure is generally a much more informative measure of volatility than any one metric, and the shape of the curve may tell you a lot about how investors feel about the stock market. (VIEW LINK)
At least part of the move higher seems to be based on analysts expecting better Black Friday results. While the results weren't bad, they aren't as good as hoped. So, a bit of investor fear may be creeping into the market or investors could be adjusting expectations to take into account expected lower earnings next quarter.
Jay - I was just discussing the sharp move in the VIX with James Marlay and what it means. Do you have a view?