Is the Stock Market Too Quiet for Its Own Good?

After another strong year, some fear that the rare calm that has descended raises the odds that share prices will descend.

A rare calm has settled over the stock market. Whether it turns out to be the one before the storm is a compelling question after a year of conditions so placid that investing has begun to look deceptively simple.In all of 2017, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index experienced no decline greater than 3 percent, the first time that had happened. And a widely followed volatility index known as the VIX closed below 10 on more than 40 days in a six-month period through late November, according t...