The CBOE Volatility Index , also known as the "fear index," briefly topped 21 Friday, as U.S. markets headed lower on weakening oil demand. The VIX last closed above 21 on Oct. 17, when it ended the day at 21.99, according to FactSet data. The VIX spiked as high as 31.06 during October's sharp, but brief, selloff in U.S. equity markets.
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