Market Insider

Investor bets on a springtime fear spike

Traders take orders in the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index options pit at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) in Chicago, Illinois.
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Some big investor made a $5.13 million options bet Thursday that April could be a cruel month for stocks.

A sizable trade in VIX options caught the eye of traders, who say it's one of the first big bullish trades on the Volatility Index for April and assumes a 50 percent jump in the index.

The VIX, the Chicago Board of Options Exchange's Volatility Index, is viewed as a fear gauge for the stock market. It estimates expected volatility by averaging weighted prices of puts and calls over a range of strike prices. A high VIX is viewed as bearish for stocks.

(Read more: Nervous investors need to embrace the selloff)