How volatile is the stock market these days?
The S&P 500 index has not endured such a roller-coaster since in almost three years.
With a 4.63 percent gain Wednesday, the S&P 500 index has now had four consecutive days that equities have moved at least four percent. (Over those four sessions, the index has declined a modest 2.23 percent).
Such a four-day phenomenon has not occurred since November 2008 (just after the cataclysmic collapse of Lehman Brothers).
The daily swings were actually more pronounced then – on Nov. 19, 2008, the index plunged 6.12 percent, followed by a drop of 6.71 percent, then two straight days of rebounds, of 6.32 percent and 6.47 percent, respectively.
However, the level of market fear was somewhat higher in the late autumn of 2008 than it is now.
As of Wednesday’s close, the VIX index closed at 39.00 --which is higher than the market is comfortable with, but significantly below the 50 to 60 levels the VIX reached in November 2008.
Also, if the S&P index moves by more than 4 percent on Thursday, it will mark the first time that has happened since November 1929 (just after the devastating market crash that threw the country into a decade-long Depression).
On Nov, 11, 1929, the index dropped 6.23 percent, then fell another 5.69 percent and 5.71 percent, the following two sessions. However, the market snapped back over the next two days, with the resounding 8.95 percent and 5.51 percent gains – making for the wildest five-day market run in history.