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Fear is spiking, but no bear territory yet

Market fears spiked Friday, but stocks have not reached bear market territory quite yet.

The CBOE Volatility Index soared more than 20 percent Friday amid a more than 2.5 percent drop in major U.S. averages. The so-called "fear" index, which measures expectations for near-term volatility, has jumped more than 60 percent higher this year.

The index briefly rose above 30 on Friday, up about 25 percent. The huge climb in the VIX this year comes amid a nearly 9 percent fall in the S&P 500.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Despite the volatility, the U.S. indices have not hit the levels needed for a bear market. The S&P would have to hit 1,707.78 — more than 100 points down from where it traded Friday, or 20 percent lower than its May 2015 all-time high.

The Dow Jones industrial average would have to touch 14,681.09, down from about 15,900 on Friday. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, would have to drop to 4,185.55 from about 4,460 on Friday.