Market Volatility Index (VIX) At Six-Month Lows
According to Freakonomics blogger and Yale professor Ian Ayres:
One of the most important but underreported financial indicators is the CBOE’s Volatility Index (^VIX), which measures the market’s expectation of future volatility in stock prices (over the next 30 days). (The CBOE has written a nice technical white paper describing how it is calculated, here.) When it drops below 30 percent, it will be a strong indication that the market correction is complete and we’re back to business as usual.
Often referred to as the "fear index," the VIX represents one measure of the stock market's expectation of volatility over the next 30 day period (Wikipedia). The VIX is a widely used measure of market risk and it is often referred to as the "investor fear gauge" (Investopedia).
The chart above (click to enlarge) shows that the VIX Index is now trading below 40 for the first time since last September, and is less than half of the 80+ peaks in October and November. The general downward trend in the VIX over the last six months suggests that market volatility is moving back towards normal levels and that "investor fear" is gradually subsiding.