The Cboe Volatility Index, known as Wall Street's "fear gauge," surged on Wednesday to its highest level in nearly two months.
In morning trade, the VIX was last at 37.28, its most elevated since Sept. 4, as the benchmark S&P 500 stock index fell nearly 2% amid worries about the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the United States and Europe.
Along with the pandemic, concerns about stalled efforts in Washington toward further fiscal stimulus measures and the outcome of Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election have helped to boost the VIX. The index has surged nearly 10 points this week and is on track for its biggest weekly points gain since June.
VIX futures, which have long reflected expectations for higher volatility toward year-end and early 2020 - in large part on election worries - rose in tandem with the index. Earlier in the session, December futures touched their highest level since they began trading in March.
Reporting by April Joyner; Editing by David Holmes