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New market fear: Investors aren't worried

Given the massive moves in the market, it would stand to reason that worry in the market should be growing from bad to worse.

Swings in the Dow Jones industrial average have been sharp enough to give even the most intrepid investors an upset stomach.

However, looking at Wall Street's favorite gauge of fear, the CBOE Volatility Index, pros appear to be moving in the other direction.

They're growing less fearful, not more.


As you can see from this chart, over the past month, after hitting highs near 30, on Thursday the VIX was flirting with 16. That's a significant decline.

"Realized volatility versus implied volatility is totally out of whack," noted Jeff Kilburg, of KKM Financial, and a CNBC contributor on "Power Lunch."

That is, the swings in the market are huge while the index that the Street views as a reliable measure of fear is relatively mild. "From the October highs, volatility is off nearly 50 percent," Kilburg added.

Kilburg says, necessarily, it's a sign that the market and the VIX are not on the same page.


Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, October 23, 2014.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, October 23, 2014.

And he worries, if that's the case, professional investors may be unprepared for some kind of exogenous event. In turn, if one surfaces, it could generate panic selling.

To make the market that much more fragile, Kilburg believes it was comments from St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard that quelled the market.

"But I think the market is giving his comments to much weight," Kilburg said, meaning it's not likely the Fed will reintroduce QE.

Read MoreBullard: Fed may want to keep up bond buying for now

All told, the lack of worry is what worries Kilburg. He wouldn't be surprised if it ultimately takes the market down.

Kenny Polcari of O'Neil Securities and also a CNBC market analyst added the swings shouldn't surprise anyone. "It's a sign the market is trying to repair itself."