Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Fear index skyrockets to 13-month high

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Wall Street's key volatility measure soared to a 13-month high Friday as stocks continued their slide, a day after computer glitches caused erroneous trades that prompted a huge sell-off in equities.

The CBOE Volatility (VIX) index, or the VIX, was up 26% to 41.43, after rising as high as 42.15 earlier in the session. Investors remained nervous after Thursday's record swings, and stocks couldn't recover Friday.

chart_ws_stock_cboemktvolatilityidx.03.png

At the close of trade Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) ended 140 points lower, after having gained as much as 59 points and lost as much as 279 points in the morning.

On Thursday, the VIX jumped as much as 63% before settling at 32.80, the highest level since May 4, 2009. Markets were rattled Thursday as the Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) plunged nearly 1,000 points before rebounding. Erroneous trading on nearly 300 stocks reportedly caused the "flash crash," which picked up speed as investor panic increased.

The VIX is up 166% since April 12, when it was trading at 5.58 -- its lowest level in nearly three years.

The fear gauge has risen 106.4% year-to-date, and it's up 87.9% over the past five days alone. Even before the Dow's record drop Thursday, stocks were struggling through the week on a slew of troubling news from the euro zone.

On Wednesday, rating agency Moody's placed Portugal's debt on review for a potential downgrade. That announcement came just one week after Standard & Poor's cut Portugal's rating, although it remains investment grade -- which means the country's debt can be still be used as collateral.

Major concerns about Greece also continued to fuel fears. On Wednesday, Greek authorities said three people had died in a central Athens fire during street riots protesting severe new government austerity measures. The major cuts are tied to the $146 billion aid package for Greece, which some investors worry won't be enough to contain problems from spreading throughout Europe. To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.85%3.86%
15 yr fixed2.97%2.94%
5/1 ARM3.15%3.08%
30 yr refi3.96%3.97%
15 yr refi3.07%3.04%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,058.35 -469.68 -2.84%
Nasdaq 4,636.11 -140.40 -2.94%
S&P 500 1,913.85 -58.33 -2.96%
Treasuries 2.17 -0.03 -1.27%
Data as of 8:38pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.58 -0.76 -4.65%
Apple Inc 107.72 -5.04 -4.47%
General Electric Co 23.88 -0.94 -3.79%
Ford Motor Co 13.72 -0.15 -1.08%
Microsoft Corp 41.82 -1.70 -3.91%
Data as of 4:00pm ET

Sections

McDonald's has been testing an all-day breakfast menu in several markets for months. Now it has said when the change will go nationwide: October 6. More

Iran could be pumping more than four million barrels of oil a day by the end of 2016, the country's oil minister tells CNN in an exclusive interview. More

A California judge granted class action status to former Uber drivers who claim they should have been classified as employees instead of contractors. More

How do you run a successful crowdfunding campaign? Indiegogo's CEO Slava Rubin offers his top tips and mistakes to avoid. More

Here's what you need to earn to afford a home in the 27 biggest metro areas in the country, according to HSH.com. More