VIX CBOE Volatility Index Overview

To get the best possible experience please use the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge to view this website.

  1. Such VIX-linked instruments allow pure volatility exposure and have created a new asset class.
  2. Market professionals rely on a wide variety of data sources and tools to stay on top of the market.
  3. At the time, the index only took into consideration the implied volatility of eight separate S&P 100 put and call options.
  4. Volatility is the level of price fluctuations that can be observed by looking at past data.

Generally speaking, if the VIX index is at 12 or lower, the market is considered to be in a period of low volatility. On the other hand, abnormally high volatility is often seen as anything that is above 20. When you see the VIX above 30, that’s sometimes viewed as an indication that markets are very unsettled. Investing in the VIX directly is not possible, but you can purchase ETFs that track the index as a way to speculate on future changes in the VIX or as a tool for hedging. This isn’t something that will make sense for most investors who are working to meet a long-term goal such as saving for retirement.

Stock Market Volatility Holds Support Ahead Of Key Fed Rate Decision: The Bull, Bear Case For The VIX

Volatility is the level of price fluctuations that can be observed by looking at past data. Instead, the VIX looks at expectations of future volatility, also known as implied volatility. Times of greater uncertainty (more expected future volatility) result in higher VIX values, while less anxious times correspond with lower values. Instead, investors can take a position in VIX through futures or options contracts, or through VIX-based exchange traded products (ETPs). For example, the ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (VIXY) and the iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXXB) are two such offerings that track a certain VIX-variant index and take positions in linked futures contracts.

Evolution of the VIX

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is a real-time index that represents the market’s expectations for the relative strength of near-term price changes of the S&P 500 Index (SPX). Because it is derived from the prices of SPX index options with near-term expiration dates, it generates a 30-day forward projection of volatility. Volatility, or how fast prices change, is often seen as a way to gauge market sentiment, and in particular the degree of fear among market participants. It tends to rise during times of market stress, making it an effective hedging tool for active traders.

The reverse is true when the market advances—the index values, fear, and volatility decline. Market professionals rely on a wide variety of data sources and tools to stay on top of the market. The VIX is one the main indicators for understanding when the market is possibly headed for a big move up or down or when it may be ready to quiet down after a period of volatility.

During its origin in 1993, VIX was calculated as a weighted measure of the implied volatility of eight S&P 100 at-the-money put and call options, when the derivatives market had limited activity and was in its growing stages. The index is more commonly known by its ticker symbol and is often referred to simply as “the VIX.” It was created by the CBOE Options Exchange and is maintained by CBOE Global Markets. It is an important index in the world of trading and investment because it provides a quantifiable measure of market risk and investors’ sentiments. Perhaps the most straightforward way to invest in the VIX is with exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and exchange-traded notes (ETNs) based on VIX futures.

Stocks have been moving a lot more than usual after earnings. Here’s why, and what it could mean.

One of the most popular and accessible of these is the ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (VIXY), which is based on VIX futures contracts with a 30-day maturity. Some exchange-traded securities let you speculate on implied volatility up to six months in the future, such as the iPath S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures ETN (VXZ), which invests in VIX futures with four- to seven-month maturities. For people watching the VIX index, it’s understood that the S&P 500 stands in for “the stock market” or “the market” as a whole. When the VIX index moves higher, this reflects the fact that professional investors are responding to more price volatility in the S&P 500 in particular and markets more generally. When the VIX declines, investors are betting there will be smaller price moves up or down in the S&P 500, which implies calmer markets and less uncertainty.

VIX values below 20 generally correspond to stable, stress-free periods in the markets. The first method is based on historical volatility, using statistical calculations on previous prices over a specific time period. This process involves computing various statistical numbers, like mean (average), variance, and finally, the standard deviation on the historical price data https://g-markets.net/ sets. The VIX attempts to measure the magnitude of price movements of the S&P 500 (i.e., its volatility). The more dramatic the price swings are in the index, the higher the level of volatility, and vice versa. In addition to being an index to measure volatility, traders can also trade VIX futures, options, and ETFs to hedge or speculate on volatility changes in the index.

The Bankrate promise

Options are derivative instruments whose price depends upon the probability of a particular stock’s current price moving enough to reach a particular level (called the strike price or exercise price). Although the VIX revealed high levels of investor anxiety, the Investopedia Anxiety Index (IAI) remained neutral. The IAI is constructed by analyzing which topics generate the most reader interest at a given time and comparing that with actual events in the financial markets. Investors, analysts, and portfolio managers look to the Cboe Volatility Index as a way to measure market stress before they make decisions. When VIX returns are higher, market participants are more likely to pursue investment strategies with lower risk. As an investor, if you see the VIX rising it could be a sign of volatility ahead.

Extending Volatility to Market Level

Sentiment plays a big role in decision making for the stock markets, and to that extent, it could be a good idea to glance at the VIX. However, the index is far from perfect, and investors should consider how much weight they want to peg on it. The VIX is considered a reflection of investor sentiment and has in the past been a leading indicator of a dip in the S&P 500, but that relationship may have changed in recent times. For instance, in the three months between Aug. 8, 2017, and Nov. 8, 2017, the VIX was up 19%—seemingly suggesting anxiety among market participants and implying that the S&P 500 should be on a downward trajectory. But for those who are more inclined to trade and speculate, ETFs that track the VIX can be a useful tool. When uncertainty and fear hits the market, stocks generally fall, and your portfolio could take a hit.

The VIX typically spikes during or in anticipation of a stock market correction. That much is understood by most investors, but what exactly is volatility and how is it measured for the overall stock market? You may have seen references to something called the VIX, an index that measures volatility, during times of extreme financial stress.

Options and futures based on VIX products are available for trading on CBOE and CFE platforms, respectively. Meanwhile, the IAI, which also has proven to be a leading indicator to the VIX, has shown some divergence. During the time period mentioned above, despite some concerns about the market, the overall IAI actually moved lower. The VIX is considered a reflection of investor sentiment, but one must remember that it is supposed to be a leading indicator. In other words, it should not be construed as a sign of an immediate market movement. Yarilet Perez is an experienced multimedia journalist and fact-checker with a Master of Science in Journalism.

The VIX index tracks the tendency of the S&P 500 to move away from and then revert to the mean. When the stock markets appear relatively calm but the VIX index spikes higher, professionals are betting that prices on the S&P 500—and thereby the stock market as a whole—may be moving higher or lower in the near term. When the VIX moves nfp forecast lower, investors may view this as a sign the index is reverting to the mean, with the period of greater volatility soon to end. The VIX, which was first introduced in 1993, is sometimes called the “fear index” because it can be used by traders and investors to gauge market sentiment and see how fearful, or uncertain, the market is.

The VIX is an index run by the Chicago Board Options Exchange, now known as Cboe, that measures the stock market’s expectation for volatility over the next 30 days based on option prices for the S&P 500. Volatility is a statistical measure based on how much an asset’s price moves in either direction and is often used to measure the riskiness of an asset or security. The VIX, formally known as the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index, measures how much volatility professional investors think the S&P 500 index will experience over the next 30 days. Market professionals refer to this as “implied volatility”—implied because the VIX tracks the options market, where traders make bets about the future performance of different securities and market indices, such as the S&P 500. Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service.

This formula was developed by Vanderbilt University Professor Robert Whaley in 1993. Following the popularity of the VIX, the CBOE now offers several other variants for measuring broad market volatility. Examples include the CBOE Short-Term Volatility Index (VIX9D), which reflects the nine-day expected volatility of the S&P 500 Index; the CBOE S&P Month Volatility Index (VIX3M); and the CBOE S&P Month Volatility Index (VIX6M). Products based on other market indexes include the Nasdaq-100 Volatility Index (VXN); the CBOE DJIA Volatility Index (VXD); and the CBOE Russell 2000 Volatility Index (RVX). VIX values are calculated using the CBOE-traded standard SPX options, which expire on the third Friday of each month, and the weekly SPX options, which expire on all other Fridays. Only SPX options are considered whose expiry period lies within more than 23 days and less than 37 days.

It’s important to note here that while volatility can have negative connotations, like greater risk, more stress, deeper uncertainty or bigger market declines, volatility itself is a neutral term. Greater volatility means that an index or security is seeing bigger price changes—higher or lower—over shorter periods of time. Active traders who employ their own trading strategies and advanced algorithms use VIX values to price the derivatives, which are based on high beta stocks. Beta represents how much a particular stock price can move with respect to the move in a broader market index. For instance, a stock having a beta of +1.5 indicates that it is theoretically 50% more volatile than the market. Traders making bets through options of such high beta stocks utilize the VIX volatility values in appropriate proportion to correctly price their options trades.