with contributions from Paulina Szmydke
 on December 27, 2012

As 2012 gets ready to close, confidence over a quick resolution to the fiscal cliff weighed on investors and consumer sentiment.

The Volatility Index has been rising higher as the Dec. 31 deadline approaches for when the U.S. heads over the fiscal cliff. The VIX, based on index option prices, is sometimes referred to as the fear index and represents an expectation of the stock market’s volatility over the next 30 days. On Thursday the VIX rose to 19.47, compared with 15.87 at the end of November.

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