Fear index eases off 14-month high

By Chavon Sutton, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Wall Street's key volatility measure fell Tuesday as stocks, battered by persistent worries about the health of European banks and sustainability of the global economic recovery, pared losses.

The CBOE Volatility (VIX) index, or the VIX, fell 7.5% to 35.61, after rising as high as 43.74 earlier in the trading session. The index has eased off the 14-month high set last Thursday.

chart_ws_stock_cboemktvolatilityidx.03.png

Investors remained skittish as stocks plunged around the globe earlier Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average lost (INDU) nearly 200 points, continuing the downward tear it has been on for most of May, before cutting some losses in afternoon trading.

The VIX jumped 30% on May 20 to settle at 45.79, the highest level since March 20, 2009, following Germany's ban on so-called naked short selling on some financial institutions and European Union government bonds. A VIX reading higher than 30 is considered a sign of increased worry among investors.

The move was geared toward stabilizing the euro and the region, but instead sent stocks plunging, as many investors saw it as a sign that European banks and sovereigns are on shaky footing.

Although down on Tuesday, the VIX is still up 129% since April 12, when it was trading at 15.58 -- its lowest level in nearly three years.

Year-to-date the fear gauge is up 63.75%, and up 20.4% over the past five days. Global stocks have struggled for weeks amid a spate of unsettling news from the euro zone that has sent investors fleeing risky assets such as stocks, commodities, and the euro.  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 fixed3.90%3.90%
15 yr fixed3.02%3.07%
5/1 ARM3.00%3.14%
30 yr refi3.97%3.96%
15 yr refi3.07%3.12%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,010.68 -115.44 -0.64%
Nasdaq 5,070.03 -27.95 -0.55%
S&P 500 2,107.39 -13.40 -0.63%
Treasuries 2.09 -0.04 -1.64%
Data as of 2:35am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.50 -0.17 -1.02%
Apple Inc 130.28 -1.50 -1.14%
Pfizer Inc 34.75 0.31 0.90%
Intel Corp 34.46 0.45 1.32%
General Electric Co 27.27 -0.36 -1.30%
Data as of May 29

Sections

Ed Gilligan spent his entire 35-year career with American Express, starting as an intern ad rising to one of the highest executive posts at the bank. More

The U.S. economy lost ground in the first quarter, but it is already showing signs of life. More

Brit Morin is a DIY queen. Her startup Brit + Co. inspires women and girls to be creative -- and just raised $23 million in funding. More