Monday, December 10, 2012

Fear Poll Respondents Focus on Fiscal Cliff, Dismissive of European Financial Crisis

For the eighth week in a row, concerns about the U.S. fiscal cliff topped the VIX and More weekly fear poll. Fears related to excessive central bank intervention nudged out concerns related to government and politicians as the #2 issue, but perhaps the most interesting development is the how much the anxiety related to the European sovereign debt crisis continues to subside.

From a geographical perspective, U.S. and non-U.S. respondents had a relatively low divergence of opinion this week. That being said, whereas U.S. respondents cited the fiscal cliff as the top concern, non-U.S. respondents were most concerned about excessive central bank intervention in the economy. Perhaps part of the fallout from the fiscal cliff negotiations is that U.S. respondents see governments and politicians as much more likely to be the top threat to the stock market, by a margin of 5.6% over non-U.S. respondents.

Interestingly, both U.S. and non-U.S. respondents expressed much less concern about the euro zone problems, with only 4.9% of U.S. respondents citing euro zones as the #1 concern, while 5.9% of non-U.S. respondents put the euro zone issues at the top of the list.

With the FOMC meeting scheduled to wind up on Wednesday, the fiscal cliff talks inching closer to that last day on which legislation can be introduced in Congress for the year (December 18th, based upon a December 21st recess) and Alcoa scheduled to report Q4 earnings and unofficially kick of the next earnings reporting season on January 8th, there is the potential for quite a few things to hit the fan in the coming month.

In spite of all these threats looming just around the corner, the VIX remains subdued and is still in a position to reinforce the notion that December Is the Cruelest Month…for the VIX.

Once again, thanks to all who participated in this weekly poll.

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