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

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.32%4.26%
15 yr fixed3.36%3.27%
5/1 ARM3.37%3.27%
30 yr refi4.31%4.24%
15 yr refi3.34%3.25%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
Nasdaq 4,095.52 9.29 0.23%
S&P 500 1,864.85 2.54 0.14%
Treasuries 2.72 0.08 3.19%
Data as of 6:34pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.15 0.02 0.12%
Facebook Inc 58.94 -0.78 -1.31%
General Electric Co 26.56 0.44 1.68%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.19 0.16 0.69%
Micron Technology In... 23.91 1.43 6.36%
Data as of 4:01pm ET

Sections

GM won't have to tell customers to keep their recalled cars parked until fixed, after a federal judge denied emergency motion Thursday. More

Obamacare sign ups hit 8 million, though final enrollment remains to be seen. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

As Detroit moves closer to reaching a bankruptcy deal, retired civilian workers are poised to be left worse off than firemen and police officers. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.