What Does the Volatility Index VIX Indicate?

what is the vix?

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. When the VIX is up, it means that there are significant and rapid price fluctuations in the S&P 500. The VIX typically has a negative correlation with the S&P 500, so in periods of market stress, the VIX increases.

what is the vix?

VIX® Futures & Options Strategies

VIX and the S&P 500 typically move in opposite directions, with VIX anticipating the S&P 500’s behavior 30 days out. Access exclusive data and research, personalize your experience, and sign up to receive email updates. For example, on Nov. 9, 2017, the VIX climbed 22% during the trading session on fears of delays in the tax reform plan. Yarilet Perez is an experienced multimedia journalist and fact-checker with a Master of Science in Journalism. She has worked in multiple cities covering breaking news, politics, education, and more. Miranda Marquit has been covering personal finance, investing and business topics for almost 15 years.

How Does the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) Work?

Remember the VIX is not set by any one person or even groups of people; it is solely determined by order flow of all buyers and sellers of options. One could extrapolate an equilibrium level, where the market (risk premium) is fairly priced based on the economic landscape. The VIX is a number derived from the prices of options premium in the S&P 500 index (which is an index comprising 500 large cap stocks).

Term Structure Trading

  1. If many of the large investment firms are anticipating the same thing, there is usually a spike in options trading for the S&P 500.
  2. Technically speaking, the CBOE Volatility Index does not measure the same kind of volatility as most other indicators.
  3. Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice – straight to your e-mail.
  4. For those interested in what the number mathematically represents, here it is in the most simple of terms.
  5. 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.

SPX Options expire on the third Friday of each month, while the Weekly SPX Options expire on the remaining Fridays. Often alluded to as the ‘fear gauge’ on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, and CNN/Money, the VIX is regularly mentioned in the media and discussed among financial professionals. Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more – straight to your e-mail. Meanwhile, the IAI, which also has proven to be a leading indicator to the VIX, has shown some divergence.

How Can I Use the VIX Level to Hedge Downside Risk?

ETNs in particular can be less liquid and more difficult to trade as well as may carry higher fees. For people watching the VIX index, it’s understood that the S&P 500 stands in for “the stock market” or “the trade99 review 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.

what is the vix?

A call option would give you the right to buy the S&P 500 at a specific price, while a put option would give you the right to sell the S&P 500 at a specific price. The price that you choose to buy or sell the underlying market is known as the strike price. The VIX was created by the Cboe Global Markets (Cboe), originally known as the Chicago Board Options Exchange, which bills itself as “the largest U.S. options exchange and creator of listed options.” It is sometimes easier to think of trading VIX options opposite of how you would trade the options in the S&P. If you think the S&P is heading sharply lower then purchasing VIX call options would benefit. If you think the S&P is heading sharply higher then purchasing VIX put options would benefit.

They give the trader the right, but not the obligation, to trade the S&P 500 at a set price, before a set date of expiry. It is a good indicator of the expectation of market volatility, note I said “expectation”, it is not representative of the actual volatility or what will happen. This is a very important point; it is just a general assumption based on the premiums investors are willing to pay for the right to buy or sell stock.

ETNs that track volatility include the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures (VXX) and the iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures (VXZ). If the VIX heads higher than 20, then fear is starting to enter into the market and it is forecasting a higher risk environment. If it goes too high, then everyone is singing the “chicken little” song.

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