Wall Street's 'fear Gauge' Just Hit a 24-year Low

By Mark DeCambreMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

A measure of fear on Wall Street touched its lowest level since 1993--on a closing basis--in Monday afternoon trade, according to FactSet data. The CBOE Volatility Index , or VIX, touched a low of 9.72 intraday, marking its lowest level since 1993. In fact, the so-called, which is based on options contracts on the S&P 500 index 30 days in the future, has only finished in the single digits on 10 occasions. It was most recently at 9.82, off 7.2%. The metric's historical average is 20 and it has continued to slump as stocks have reached repeated records since President Donald Trump's Election Day victory in November, which suggests to market participants that investors are becoming too complacent. Although U.S. stocks are trading slightly lower on Monday, the Nasdaq Composite Index and the S&P 500 briefly touched intraday records. The Dow Jones Industrial Average , meanwhile, along with the rest of the equity market, was trading near break-even levels. France's election on Sunday, with a victory by centrist Emmanuel Macron, has helped to assuage one of the market's biggest concerns about the growth of populism in Europe, which threatened to destabilize the European Union and the euro . Macron won decisively over rival Marin Le Pen, who had vowed to pull France out of the EU.

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