the VIX, aka the Fear Index

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Oct 20 15:42:52 UTC 2008

Introduced in '93, but newly buzzworthy:

Fear is running high on Wall Street. Just look at the Fear Index.
With all those stomach-churning free falls and sharp reversals in the
stock market recently, traders are keeping a nervous eye on an obscure
index known as the VIX.
The VIX (officially the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility
Index) measures volatility, the technical term for those wrenching
market swings. A rising VIX is usually regarded as a sign that fear,
rather than greed, is ruling the market. The higher the VIX goes, the
more unhinged the market looks.
So how scared are investors? On Friday, the VIX rose to 70.33, its
highest close since its introduction in 1993. To some experts, that
suggests that the wild ride is far from over.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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