VIX CBOE Volatility Index Overview

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. Volatility is a measure of the intensity of all these fluctuations and can apply either to individual company shares or the market as a whole. Well, the high volume of 0DTE options is distorting reality and, with it, the VIX. So, CBOE launched a new version of the VIX, called CBOE 1-Day Volatility Index (VIX1D), in order to capture the sentiment implicit in 0DTE options since the VIX is a barometer of investor sentiment over one month.

  1. As this new volatility index gains traction, investors will have better insights about market volatility than they did before.
  2. 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.
  3. Before purchasing a security tied to an index like the VIX, it’s important to understand all of your options so that you can make educated decisions about your investment choices.
  4. So, whether you’re reading an article or a review, you can trust that you’re getting credible and dependable information.
  5. The gauge hovered near 13.5 on Thursday, compared with 14.6 this time in 2020 and 24.2 in 2016.

The information is presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. At the time, the index only took into consideration the implied volatility of eight separate S&P 100 put and call options. After 2002, CBOE decided to expand the VIX to the S&P 500 to better capture the market sentiment. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for placement of sponsored products and services, or by you clicking on certain links posted on our site. Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear within listing categories, except where prohibited by law for our mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range, can also impact how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range of offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service.

In contrast, 0DTE options are measured in minutes and hours, not days or weeks. Bankrate follows a strict
editorial policy, so you can trust that our content is honest and accurate. The content created by our editorial staff is objective, factual, and not influenced by our advertisers. The investment information provided in this table is for informational and general educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment or financial advice.

Like any year, the stock market fluctuates, but some technical analysts have observed patterns in the election cycle. Mark Newton from Fundstrat has said the months from March to August and then November to year-end will perform the best, as they historically have done in election years. Bank of America technical strategist Stephen Suttmeier, meanwhile, said August is likely to be the strongest month after a lackluster January to May. Sustained periods above 30 suggest turbulent times, a scenario that investors currently will be all too familiar with. To put the numbers into context, October’s current level is nowhere near the spike of 82 that the VIX registered at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, when global stock markets crashed.

In March, the VIX rallied only on a few occasions despite the second and third-largest bank failures in the history of the United States causing sharp declines in the equity markets. For example, on Nov. 9, 2017, the VIX climbed 22% during the trading session on fears of delays in the tax reform plan.

The VIX was at 16 last week and on Monday, levels not seen since the last few months of 2021. These are excessively low levels considering the current scenario (high inflation, a monetary tightening cycle with interest rate hikes, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and fear of an economic recession). In this article, I will highlight why many investors, particularly institutional investors, question its usefulness and consider it an outdated indicator. In addition, I will provide details on a new volatility index that began operating this Monday as a potential alternative to the VIX. Before purchasing a security tied to an index like the VIX, it’s important to understand all of your options so that you can make educated decisions about your investment choices. If you’re interested in investing in a VIX ETF/ETN, we recommend that you speak with a financial professional first to make sure your investment strategy fits your needs.

What is VIX?

Typically, if the VIX rises above the 20 level, it can be a sign of nervousness among investors. It is calculated in real-time using the prices of options on the S&P 500 index, i.e., options expiring on the 3rd Friday of each month and options expiring every Friday. 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.

The VIX, often referred to as the “fear index,” is calculated in real time by the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). 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. Understanding it all can be complicated, so let’s take a closer look at what it means.

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If prices gain a great deal very quickly, or fall very far, very rapidly, the principle of mean reversion suggests they should snap back to their long-term average before long. 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.

It then started using a wider set of options based on the broader S&P 500 Index, an expansion that allows for a more accurate view of investors’ expectations of future market volatility. A methodology was adopted that remains in effect and is also used for calculating various other variants of the volatility index. 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 sets.

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However, the VIX can be traded through futures contracts and exchange traded funds (ETFs) and exchange traded notes (ETNs) that own these futures contracts. The VIX index tracks the tendency of the S&P 500 to move away from and then revert xor neural network 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.

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That’s because there is no way to know when a market has actually reached its lowest level. When it comes to investing in stocks and shares, no one has invented a crystal ball that can predict the fate awaiting companies and investors. Volatility can, however, be a problem for investors who need to sell their shares at short notice, or for those in or approaching retirement who don’t have time on their side while waiting for prices to recover. Greater volatility just means that an individual share or the index itself is experiencing bigger than average price changes – higher or lower – over shorter periods of time.

In turn, investor appetite is based on company-specific factors as well as wider stock market and economic conditions and levels of investor optimism. The financial world has been awash this year with stories of volatile stock markets producing challenging and turbulent conditions for investors and their portfolios alike. Investopedia does not provide tax, investment, or financial services and advice.