Stocks 'fear gauge' at six-month low as Wall Street eyes new highs

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – With U.S. stocks a stone’s throw away from hitting a record high, Wall Street’s so-called “fear gauge” slipped to a fresh six-month low on Friday, in a sign investors expect the good times to keep rolling.

FILE PHOTO: The Charging Bull or Wall Street Bull is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 16, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The S&P 500 crossed the 2,900 mark for the first time since early October on Friday, boosted by a jump in Walt Disney shares and as bank stocks surged after strong results from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The stock index’s recent gains spell a striking reversal in fortunes for investors, who just a few months ago had been staring at the demise of the longest bull market for stocks.

Stocks tumbled hard late last year, as investors fretted over mounting concerns about global growth, waning corporate profits, U.S.-China trade tensions and the Fed’s path on rate hikes.

But you wouldn’t know that looking at the Cboe Volatility Index today. On Friday the VIX – a widely followed options-based barometer of expected near-term volatility for stocks – slipped as low as 12.11, its lowest since