Wall Street’s ‘fear index’ surges most since height of coronavirus selling in March as stock market skids on virus worries

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A measure of implied volatility on Wall Street early Monday touched the highest level since November on reports of a new strain of coronavirus that has caused tightened social-media restrictions and lockdowns in parts of Europe. Concerns about the the evolution of the virus has overshadowed Congress reaching a $900 billion coronavirus aid package. The CBOE Volatility Index jumped by about 33% Monday morning, trading around 28.75, which would mark its highest level since early November, according to FactSet data. The index, also known as the VIX, for its ticker symbol, has become well known as Wall Street’s “fear gauge,” since it was created in the early 1990s. The moves for the VIX came as stock-index futures are on track for their worst decline in about 8 weeks, since around Oct. 28, FactSet data show. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 318 points, or 1.1%, at 29,795, those for the S&P 500 index were down 1.4% at 3,655, while Nasdaq-100 index futures were off 1% at 12,584.75. The moves come after with the Dow finished 124.32 points, or 0.4%, lower at 30,179.05, the S&P 500 ended down 13.07 points, or 0.4%, to close at 3,709.41, after hitting an intraday record high at 3,726.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 9.11 points, or 0.1%, on Friday to close at 12,755.64, after notching its intraday all-time high at 12,809.60
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