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Becalmed Volatility

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Although spring has arrived and bears are coming out of hibernation, stock market volatility is still fast asleep.

Since the start of the year, the CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index, also known as “VIX,” has fallen around 27%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 has enjoyed a modest gain near 2.5%.

ETFs, like the ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (SVXY), that are designed to increase in value when volatility falls have jumped 24% year-to-date (YTD).

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Leadership in mid and small company stocks is another sign the stock market’s appetite for higher risk assets is still strong. Mid and small cap U.S. ETFs are up double the YTD performance of large stocks.

The VIX is a popular sentiment measure for determining whether the stock market is complacent or fearful.