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“Fear gauge” shows investors aren’t afraid

In this image, two men sit behind computers on a trading floor and one man stands between them, looking at his phone.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) pit at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) in 2014. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Betting that Wall Street's calm will last, hedge funds are shorting the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index (VIX) — or the so-called "fear gauge" — "at rates not seen in at least 15 years,” Bloomberg reports

Why it matters: “[A]ggressive bets against the VIX are, depending on your worldview, evidence of either confidence or complacency," Bloomberg's Sarah Ponczek writes. Aggressive bets against the VIX were shown to be the largest in weekly data going back to 2004.

Context: The VIX rose this week, but remains more than 30% below its 20-year average — meanwhile, volatility has all but vanished and equities are surging to all-time highs. CBOE introduced the VIX in 1993 as a measure of the 30-day implied volatility of 8 S&P 100 options.

Go deeper: 3 questions about the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), answered