The benchmark indexes for U.S. and European stock options snapped three-day losing streaks as investors boosted buying of protection on stocks, which fell around the world on concern Europe’s debt crisis may spread.
The VIX, as the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index is known, rose 6.6 percent to 19.23 at 2:25 p.m. in New York. The index measures the cost of using options as insurance against declines in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, which retreated 0.6 percent.
“Options premiums are still pricing in high levels of concern,” said Michael McCarty, managing partner at Differential Research LLC in New York. “There’s a lot of lingering worry beyond Ireland.”
In Europe, the benchmark gauge of stock-market volatility closed at the highest level since Nov. 17 amid speculation that Ireland’s financial bailout can’t contain Europe’s debt crisis. The VStoxx Index, which measures the cost of protecting against a decline in shares on the Euro Stoxx 50 Index, climbed 6 percent to 23.37.