CBOE VIX futures trading volume hits all-time high in Jan

NEW YORK Mon Feb 3, 2014 5:01pm EST

NEW YORK Feb 3 (Reuters) - Trading volume in CBOE Volatility index VIX futures hit an all-time high in January, suggesting investors were busy buying protection against a market decline.

The VIX futures trading volume totaled a record 4.40 million contacts in January, a 52-percent increase from a year ago and a 38-percent increase from December, the Chicago Board Options Exchange said on Monday.

The VIX, often referred as Wall Street's fear gauge, usually moves inversely to the performance of the S&P 500. The index closed up 16.5 percent at 21.44 on Monday, its highest level since December, 2012.