Wall Street's 'fear Gauge' Touches Highest Level In 2 Months Ahead Of Trump Address

By Mark DeCambre Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Wall Street's "fear gauge" on Tuesday hit its highest in about two months, ahead of a highly anticipated address from President Donald Trump. The CBOE Volatility Index , which tracks implied volatility 30 days in the future, touched an intraday high of 12.94, which is its highest level since Dec. 30 when the so-called fear gauge was at 14.04. Its jump, up about 7% on the session, marks the largest climb for the index, which traders use to bet on swings in the S&P 500 index , since Feb. 15, according to FactSet data. Wall Street has been experiencing a protracted period of quiescence in the equity markets and a slight buildup of anxiety ahead of Trump's speech is natural. The VIX tends to rise when stocks retreat. On Tuesday, the Dow closed off 0.1% at 20,812, the S&P 500 ended down 0.3% at 2,363, while the Nasdaq Composite Index finished off 0.6% at 5,825. Equity benchmarks have been mostly climbing to new records on the back of Trump's promises to boost the economy through a raft of fiscal stimulus. Investors will be looking for details on his plans during his joint address in front of Congress Tuesday at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. At its current level, the VIX is still below its historical average of 20 but trending higher, trading above its 50-day moving average of 11.71.

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