Understanding the Four Measures of Volatility
Updated from 3/8/2007 at 2:15 p.m. EST
"Volatility" is a term that is increasingly interjected into financial market commentary by the press and professionals. In fact, Bloomberg Radio has a daily "Volatility Report." While the term is being thrown around with a seemingly high degree of expertise, I find that the concept is not well understood by most commentators and the average investor. This module of TheStreet University will cover the four main types of volatility measures:
- historical volatility;
- implied volatility;
- the volatility index; and
- intraday volatility.
Type 1: Historical VolatilityVolatility in its most basic form represents daily changes in stock prices. We call this historical volatility (or historic volatility) and it is the starting point for understanding volatility in the greater sense. Historic volatility is the standard deviation of the change in price of a stock or other financial instrument relative to its historic price over a period of time. That sounds quite eloquent but for the average investor who does not command an intimate knowledge of statistics, the definition is most overwhelming. Think of a Pendulum To help you visualize the concept of volatility, think of a pendulum like in the picture below. The pendulum is constructed from a steel ball, attached to a rope and then suspended from a ceiling.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV