Singapore: The VIX with a 15-handle might be less benign than it seems.

Wall Street’s “fear gauge,” as the CBOE Volatility Index is sometimes known, has a lifetime average around 19. Given that, Thursday’s close of 15.8 should not ring alarm bells. But Peter Cecchini, the global chief market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald LP, sees reason for caution.

When the S&P 500 Index was around current levels and closing in on new highs last August, the volatility gauge was around 12.5, Cecchini wrote in a note Thursday. But when the VIX was around current levels in November, stocks posted a short-term high just before December’s risk-asset rout.

“This could be a bearish tell for equities, especially taken in the context of the June 11 downside reversal day that appears to have been confirmed yesterday,” Cecchini wrote. “We remain sellers of large-cap equities here.”

The strategist has a year-end forecast of 2,500 for the S&P 500, which makes him the most bearish among those tracked by Bloomberg.