Europe stock 'fear gauge' jumps to 2-1/2-month high

PARIS Wed Feb 6, 2013 2:14pm GMT

PARIS Feb 6 (Reuters) - The Euro STOXX 50 Volatility Index , or VSTOXX, Europe's widely-used measure of investor risk aversion, hit a 2-1/2 month high on Wednesday afternoon as European stocks resumed their sell-off.

The VSTOXX, based on put and call options on Euro STOXX 50 shares, is used to measure the cost of protecting stock portfolios against corrections as it usually moves in the opposite direction to cash equities.

It surged 12.5 percent to 21.62, its highest level since mid-November, as the return of worries about Spain and Italy prompted investors to hedge their equity portfolios in case of a further retreat in stocks.

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