S&P 500 Gain vs VIX

VIX, often referred to as the fear gauge, is currently at a relatively low level.

So what does investor fear (or lack thereof) portend for the stock market?

Today’s chart helps answer that question by presenting seven VIX ranges versus the ensuing average S&P 500 12-month gain.


The stock market has, on average, performed better following a relatively high VIX reading.

Currently, VIX comes in around 13 — a level often followed by average stock market performance.

S&P 500 Gain vs VIX

What is VIX?

The CBOE VIX is an index that quantifies 30-day forward S&P 500 volatility expectations.

What does the VIX tell us?

VIX, often referred to as the fear gauge, tracks expected S&P 500 volatility. As it so happens, VIX tends to rise when the S&P 500 is declining and investors are fearful.

What is a normal VIX?

Since 1990, the VIX has been below 20 (signifying investor complacency) approximately 62% of the time.

Can I buy the VIX?

Yes. There are several ETFs that track the VIX. The largest VIX ETF/ETN is the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX).