The Standard & Poor's 500 index slumped 8. 6 percent in June, its worst monthly showing since September 2002, when it dropped 11 percent...

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The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slumped 8.6 percent in June, its worst monthly showing since September 2002, when it dropped 11 percent. But the so-called “fear gauge” remained relatively calm, an indication to some analysts more declines are yet to come.

The VIX index tracks volatility and tends to spike during times of turmoil. It ended the month at 23.95, which indicates a calmer market than Jan. 22, when the VIX jumped as high as 37.57.

“It must be the efficiency of our market, or everyone has decided to take an early summer holiday at home,” says Howard Silverblatt, S&P senior index analyst.

Global markets lost $3 trillion last month, as stocks cascaded on inflation worries. Only three of 52 global stock markets tracked by S&P rose during June: Argentina, Jordan and the Czech Republic.

Elizabeth Duke:

dove or hawk?

It’s only been a few days since the Senate confirmed Elizabeth Duke as the newest Federal Reserve board member. But economists are already handicapping what her entry will mean for Fed policy.

Analysts often categorize Fed voters either as “hawks” or “doves,” depending on whether they’re more interested in battling inflation or promoting economic growth.

With Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke at the center of the scale, Merrill Lynch economist Drew Matus says Duke looks “neutral,” in between a dove and rate-tightening hawk.

U.S. stock funds

popular again

U.S. stock funds attracted $7.52 billion from investors during May, the second straight month of inflows. It’s the first time that’s happened since March and April of 2007, according to Tobias Levkovich, strategist for Citi Investment Research. More inflows could be in store.

Investors often pick mutual funds partly on their five-year performance records, Levkovich says.

Those figures now often look better than they did a year ago, as the downturn of 2002 is no longer included.

The Associated Press