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From its record heights of January 2022, the benchmark S&P 500 index has fallen into bear market territory — down 20% from its recent peak. As usual, the market has not gone quietly into the night. It has lurched across the street — mostly in a southerly direction — in a series of wide daily moves, more down than up from day to day.

The market has not only declined, it has become decidedly riskier, more volatile. The difficulty of predicting its value has dramatically raised the cost of insuring against such market risks. The volatility index, the VIX, which reflects the cost of an option to buy or sell the S&P at current values, has almost doubled, rising from a below average 16.6 in early January when the S&P index stood at 4,796, to 31.4 on June 21, with the index at 3,764 — down 24%.          ..

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