Stocks tumbled Thursday, with the S&P 500 index dropping 1.6 percent, the biggest one-day fall since July. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), jumped 18 percent to 15.64, the biggest gain since July.
All this has investors wondering: are we finally in for an extended correction and bout of volatility in the stock market?
Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx, says yes. "After a long and low period of volatility, you are seeing some realization that maybe it is time to buy volatility and maybe get more conscious on risk assets like stocks," he told CNBC.
"Clearly there has been a rising level of concern among institutional investors about the market feeling toppy. We've heard that from our clients, and we've seen it from the action on our trading desks."
So how long will the move last?
"I do expect that we get a pullback that rolls through the first half of October," Colas said.
"It's seasonally right. We've had a lot of complacency. There are enough headlines to concern people. And let's face it — stocks may not be expensive, but they're not cheap either."
Others say stocks may keep falling too.
"We could have a pullback of 5 percent anytime if you have a confluence of factors that impact investor psychology or geopolitical factors that seem to get out of control," Marshall Front, chief investment officer at Front Barnett Associates, told Bloomberg.
"Stocks are no longer undervalued."
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