(Bloomberg) -- Traders are the least concerned about wild stock market swings since before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a key gauge of options values.

The Cboe Volatility Index, which measures the 30-day implied volatility of the S&P 500, closed Friday at the lowest level since November 2019 as the benchmark stock index traded in a tight range just below the all-time high. Aside from an April pop, the VIX has been muted for much of 2024 as shares climbed. 

Part of the low readings can be chalked up to a diminished demand for hedges to protect against a selloff. Typically, the VIX and the S&P 500 have an inverse relationship, so with US stocks moving 11% this year, there’s been little interest in paying up for protection.

This week, slightly softer inflation data renewed optimism that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates earlier, pushing stocks higher.

 

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