The VIX, often referred to as the “fear index”, is the CBOE’s measure of the implied volatility of S&P 500 index options. After peaking at 79 at the height of the financial crisis, the index has declined in recent years and has not reached above the 19 mark in 2013.
This low volatility environment has led to unusually stable markets in 2013. Credit Suisse provides a chart showing that so far this year, there has been only 1 day in which the S&P 500 had an intraday move that was greater than 2%. In 2012 there were 12 of these days, in 2011 there were 68 of these days, and in 2008 there were 133 of these days.
The markets have returned to their quiet status of the mid 2000?s.