Investor fear is on the rise.
How do we know?
VIX, often referred to as the fear gauge is trending higher.
So what does this high level of fear 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 at a touch above 30 — a level often followed by above average stock market performance.
A caveat — VIX can go significantly higher than 30.
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).