Bank of America Merrill Lynch introduced a cross-market measure of risks to financial markets that it is calling the Global Financial Stress Index.

The gauge of risk, hedging demand and investment flows, the bank and brokerage firm said, "is designed to help investors identify market risks earlier and more accurately than commonly used risk indicators," such as the Chicago Board Options Exchange Market Volatility Index, or VIX, a widely followed measure of the implied volatility of S&P 500 index.

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