VIX near 18 as stocks drop sharply

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The broad equity indexes pushed lower again, all losing more than 1 percent and lifting the CBOE Volatility Index back near 18.

The S&P 500 lost 19.04 points to close at 1355.49, just above its session low. It gave up about 7 points in the first 90 minutes, then held support at 1365 until the last two hours. Support is now 1338, while the first level of resistance will likely come at 1395.

The Nasdaq 100 fell 30 points to 2531.87, its lowest close since mid-June. It followed the same pattern as the SPX, holding support at 2550 until the last 90 minutes. Support is now at 2504 with resistance at 2650.

The Russell 2000 fared the worst of the three indexes, losing 2 percent on the day, or 15.81 points, to close at 773.20. Support and resistance are now 758 and 813 respectively.

The VIX saw a quick dip below 16 in the early minutes of the session, its first time below that level in almost a month. The volatility index remained below 17 until the last hour, when it ran up toward 18. It finished the day up 1.27 points, or 7.63 percent, to 17.92.

The VIX is now back above its November futures. Those contracts, which expire next week, were up 0.85 points to 17.80 yesterday. The December futures were up 0.80 points to 19.

More than 1.2 million SPX options traded, with a put/call ratio of roughly 2 to 1. The VIX options traded more than 512,000 contracts, led by 382,000 calls. The VVIX Index, which measures the implied volatility of the VIX options, was up 7.76 percent to 94.66.

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