What is Volatility? Volatility Explained.

Last Updated on October 28, 2023

Volatility refers to the degree of variation of a financial instrument’s price over time. It represents the relative rate at which the price of a security moves up and down. In general, the higher the volatility, the riskier the investment in that security might be. Volatility can be measured by using the standard deviation or variance between returns from the same security or market index. It’s commonly used in the finance sector to gauge the amount of uncertainty or risk about the size of changes in a security’s value.


How is volatility different from risk?

While they are closely related, they’re not synonymous. Risk refers to the potential of losing capital, whereas volatility refers to the fluctuations in price. A highly volatile asset might see large price swings, but it doesn’t inherently mean that it’s a “bad” investment.

What is implied volatility?

Implied volatility (often used in the context of options trading) is a metric that captures the market’s view of the likelihood of changes in a given security’s price. It is derived from the market price of a market-traded derivative (particularly options) and indicates the market’s expectation of the security’s volatility over the future.

How does volatility affect traders and investors?

High volatility can present both opportunities and challenges. For traders, especially those who trade in the short term, price swings can offer profit opportunities. However, they also come with increased risk. For long-term investors, high volatility might mean more significant short-term losses or gains but can be less concerning if they believe in their investments’ long-term potential.

What is the Volatility Index (VIX)?

The VIX, often referred to as the “fear index”, is a measure of the stock market’s expected volatility based on S&P 500 index options. It provides a real-time market estimate of expected volatility and is often used as a gauge of investor sentiment and market volatility.

Can volatility be reduced in an investment portfolio?

Yes, one common method to reduce portfolio volatility is diversification. By holding a variety of uncorrelated or lowly correlated assets, the overall volatility of the portfolio can be mitigated. Another method includes hedging, where certain instruments are used to offset potential price fluctuations in other investments.

Author of This Article:

Rahul Bhatia

Rahul Bhatia

Rahul Bhatia

Rahul Bhatia

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