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A measure of expectations for US stock volatility closed on Thursday at its highest level of the year as the Trump trade that pushed equities to record highs showed signs of losing momentum.

The Vix index, which tracks options to project expectations for volatility over the next month, climbed 0.31 point on Thursday to 13.12, the first time it has closed above the 13 mark since December 30, according to FactSet data.

Volatility has been remarkably tepid this year. The Vix fell as low as 9.97 in February, far below the long-term average of roughly 20.

The fall in volatility comes as equities have roared to record highs, propelled by a stronger economic outlook and hopes that Donald Trump will roll out a slew of policies that are bullish for business.

However, the administration has faced a tough time in its bid to pass healthcare legislation in Congress, causing concern among some investors over whether other initiatives will come to fruition as swiftly as they had previously forecast.

A handful of potentially bearish indicators have also come to light in recent weeks. Expectations for US economic growth in the current quarter have dimmed, while estimates for S&P 500 profits over the same period have pulled back.

The recent tick higher in expected volatility comes as stock valuations are running at the highest level in years. The S&P 500 is priced at 17.6-times earnings over the next 12 months, not far from the 13-year peak of 18.02-times hit on March 1.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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