Is the U.S. an Island of Calm Amidst a Sea of Greek Fear?

Comparing the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) to the 'Europe VIX'

by Adam Warner

Published on Jun 22, 2015 at 8:57 AM
Updated on Jun 22, 2015 at 9:13 AM

Another Friday, another weekend with worries about Greece. But at least there's a big summit today and we can finally put this crisis behind us. From MarketWatch:

"European Council President Donald Tusk on Friday sought to play down expectations ahead of an emergency meeting of eurozone leaders, saying the Monday gathering won't be the 'final step' in negotiations over Greeece's [sic] bailout. 'The purpose of the summit is to make sure that we all understand each other's positions and the possible consequences of our decisions. The summit will not be the final step and there will be no detailed technical negotiations,' Tusk said in a letter inviting eurozone leaders to the meeting." 

OK, I guess not. That's good, though; I mean, what would we do every time we got new or near all-time highs? We need some reason to stop, and thanks to the never-ending Greek story, always have a reason to pause.

So here's to never resolving Greece! Forty more years! Forty more years!

If we're so worried about Greece over here, we have a funny way of showing it. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) remains mired in the low teens. It remains more "excuse to sell" than "reason to panic" so far.

But... there's a whole world of "fear gauges" beyond VIX. Including Europe's VIX. And that Europe VIX is doing quite well. ZeroHedge ran this chart the other day: 




Yes, Europe's favorite fear gauge is at its highest level related to our VIX. In fact, every fear gauge is doing well relative to VIX. We remain an island of calm amidst a sea of Greece worries.

The assumption remains that it's just a matter of time before we start to wake up and smell the fear that's percolating around many other asset classes. The trick is always in the timing. As we note weekly, we're overdue for a VIX blip. We're also sort-of due for a longer-lasting volatility lift. I just wouldn't assume any of that means doom for the actual market. We can lift alongside rising volatility. And I guess that's what I ultimately expect: a period of gradually rising volatility and a market that still acts well.

Disclaimer: Mr. Warner's opinions expressed above do not necessarily represent the views of Schaeffer's Investment Research.

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