UPDATE: Wall Street fear hits a historic low as stock market scores rip-roaring records
By Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch
VIX 'fear gauge' posts lowest close since 1993
A popular measure of Wall Street volatility finished at an all-time low Thursday, highlighting a protracted period of market calm as stocks continue an extended push into record territory.
The CBOE Volatility Index , often referred to as the market's fear gauge, closed at 9.19, which marks the lowest close for the indicator since Dec. 22, 1993, when it ended at 9.31. The indicator was created that same year.
The gauge uses bullish and bearish option bets on the S&P 500 index to reflect expected volatility over the coming 30 days. Because stocks tend to fall faster than they rise, the index is viewed as a gauge of investor fears of a market tumble. It typically moves in the opposite direction of stocks.
Read: Low stock volatility won't last forever, but the quiet may not end quickly (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/low-stock-volatility-wont-last-forever-but-the-quiet-may-not-end-quickly-2017-10-04)
The volatility index is running at less than half its historical average of around 20 and has posted the largest number of prints below 10 in its entire history in just 2017. It has posted 27 closes below 10 so far in 2017, with more than 70% of its finishes at that level occurring this year (see chart below).
The index lows come as some market veterans warn the stock market is on the verge of a meltup (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-stocks-may-be-on-verge-of-a-melt-up-2017-10-04), with equities indiscriminately rising to peaks, with few sharp moves lower.