2-yr swap spreads, shown in the chart above, are excellent and forward-looking indicators of systemic risk. Currently they are about as low as they have ever been, which suggests that markets are highly liquid, confident that the future holds no big surprises, and expecting economic and financial conditions to improve. Swap spreads were unchanged on the FOMC news today.
The Vix index is a good proxy for the market's level of fear, anxiety, and general uncertainty. The index rose modestly (shown in the chart above as a decline in the red line) a few days ago as the emerging market turmoil left global markets disconcerted, but this sort of increase in the Vix is relatively minor in the great scheme of things. Indeed, the flareups of unease and fear that we have seen in the past two years have all been relatively minor, compared to the huge bouts of panic that accompanied the financial disasters of late 2008 and the emergence of the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis in 2010 and 2011. Equities typically decline as fear rises, and rise as fears decline. It's likely we'll see a repeat of this sooner or later.
Gold and short-maturity TIPS are classic refuges in times of great uncertainty, and the prices of both have been trading fairly steadily at lower levels over the past six months. (The chart above shows the inverse of TIPS real yields, which is a good proxy for their price.) I take that to mean that the market's demand for safe assets has been relatively unchanged of late, despite the announcement of tapering, and despite the problems in the emerging market space.