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I think my favorite stock index is the volatility index (VIX), which is not exactly a stock index at all. Actually, it is an index of how fast certain types of transactions happen-or something like that. But what it does is measure how freaked out the market is. You know, like when the liquidity crisis happened, back in September, the market was really freaked out. VIX jumped to, like, 80. That's like having blood pressure of 200 over 130. Or having a resting heart rate of 125. It's crazy stressful.

Normal (kinda the 120/80 of volatility) is 40. Back during the bubble, some people were nervous about volatility index being high 30s, low 40s, as the market went up...and up...and up. And then, as the market came down (over several months) from 14,000... to 12, 12,000... to 11,000... the index stayed in the high 30s - low 40s. People just didn't see the connection between the rise and fall of the market and the rise and fall of ... wealth. Until they did.

Well, today, VIX was between 39-41± just about all day. Closed at 40.06. It looked for a while like it might actually close below 40. This is good. People are catching their breath. Gathering their wits about them.

Take a deep breath now. Ready. One. Two. Three. Climb.

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