A 15% weekly fall in Wall Street's 'fear index' suggests trade-war jitters are fading

Wall Street’s so-called fear index has been receding in the past week, even as tensions around trade between the U.S. and its counterparts across the globe have been escalating. The CBOE Volatility Index VIX, -9.15% which reflects bearish and bullish bets on the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.90% on Friday was down by almost 15% thus far this week and is hovering around 13.73, well below its historical average between 19 and 20 and implying that worries about trade clashes eventually doing harm to markets and the global economy are ebbing. The VIX–another name for the fear index, referring to its ticker symbol–tends to climb as stocks fall. A weekly decline exceeding around 14.5% would represent its steepest fall since the week ended April 13, when it declined by nearly 19%, according to FactSet data. A weekly slump for the VIX would also represent its first such slide after to straight weeks of gains of at least 14%. On Friday, the Trump administration officially imposed tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports at midnight Eastern Time, and Beijing implemented tariffs on the same value in U.S. goods, as promised, underscoring mounting tensions on global trade. However, investors have appeared to focus on upbeat data, with Friday’s jobs report showing that 213,000 jobs were created in June, better than estimates. Although the unemployment rate increased to 4% from 3.8%, an 18-year low, more job applicants entered the workforce, Labor Department data indicated. On Friday midday, the S&P 500 was trading 0.8% higher at 2,758, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.59% was up 0.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +1.26% advanced 1.1%. For the week, the Dow was poised to gain 0.8%, the S&P 500 was on track for a weekly return of 1.5%, while the Nasdaq looked set for

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