Biggest Jump In a Month For Wall Street's 'fear Gauge' As Health Bill Is Delayed

By Mark DeCambreMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

A popular gauge of volatility, or fear, on Wall Street Tuesday surged by the most since mid-May as the stock market turned firmly lower in afternoon trade. The CBOE Volatility Index was up 12% at 11.07 and on pace to mark its largest daily jump since May 17, when it climbed more than 46%, according to FactSet data. The so-called VIX, otherwise known as the fear gauge, measures options bets on the S&P 500 index 30 days in the future and is used by traders to wager on sharp swings in the market. The indicator is often used as a measure of how investors are positioned for sudden market selloffs, because stocks tend to fall faster than they rise. Wall Street views passage of the health-care legislation as a proxy for President Donald Trump's ability to get through a raft of other business-friendly laws, including tax cuts, deregulation and infrastructure spending. That trio has helped to push markets to recent repeated records, but doubts around the president's ability to pass his agenda has often led to downdrafts in assets perceived as risky, like stocks. Tuesday's action saw technology stocks, as measured by the Nasdaq Composite Index , down 1.3%, take the brunt of the selling pressure. A tech-specific exchange-traded fund, the Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF , also was down sharply. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading 0.3% lower, while the S&P 500 was off 0.5%. The Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF was down 0.5% in recent trade.

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