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Bets on S&P 500 Demise Approach Record High With Volatility Jump

Updated on
  • Value of SPY short bets jumped to around $20 billion this week
  • U.S. stocks ending the most volatile week since 2011

The S&P 500 Index is already off more than 10% from a record, but traders are betting there’s more pain to come.

Short interest as a percentage of shares outstanding on the $269 billion SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust -- a rough indicator of bearish bets on U.S. stocks -- surged to 7.4% this week, according to data from IHS Markit Ltd. That just about matches the highest level seen over the last five years. And with the value of short bets around $20 billion, the dollar amount wagering on the S&P 500’s demise is close to a record.