Global markets may have steadied in overnight trading, but investors' benchmark gauge for near-term volatility is creeping higher again Wednesday, suggesting the wild swings seen in recent stock market trading may not have abated after Tuesday's massive rebound for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The Chicago Board of Trade's Volatility Index, better known as the (VIX) , was marked 3.37% higher at 30.97 points in global trading hours in Chicago after spiking past the 50 mark for the first time since 2009 in Tuesday's historic session. Those moves followed the biggest one-day rise on record -- a jump of 115% on Monday -- that sent futures prices for the S&P 500 on a wild two-day ride that saw prices swing in range of 4.75%, the most extreme market movements in more than two years.
"The bounce in risk appetite yesterday in major US indices has many sounding the all clear that this was merely an episode made possible by egregiously over-leveraged short volatility market players and the algorithmic/trading robot aggravating thin liquidity," said Saxo Bank strategist John Hardy. "But overnight, the risk bounce in Asia has faltered badly, with the Nikkei weakening into the close and the major Chinese index closing at ugly new local lows. So we may not have seen the worst of this yet."
TheStreet's founder, Jim Cramer, said Tuesday on our RealMoney platform that "these instruments are reckless in their creation and should not be allowed."
"The owners of these pieces of papers got wiped out and, as a corollary had to sell the S&P 500 futures which was the proximate cause of the gigantic midday decline yesterday and the 560 point sell-off in the Dow at the opening," Cramer said. "I was out there telling you it was phony and to buy and I hope you didn't."
Market meltdown over? TheStreet discusses.
Wall Street futures suggest big declines at the start of trading, with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average marked 200 points to the downside, but investors expect that number, as well as the 21.75 point decline priced in for the S&P 500, to swing significantly over the course of the pre-market session.
VIX levels above 30 generally suggest daily S&P 500 cash market volatility of around 2%, a figure the benchmark has only experience on three occasions over the past two years -- and two of them over the past two days.
The pricing structure of VIX contracts, as well, suggest market volatility may take a few weeks to clear out, given that near-term VIX prices are notably higher than longer term ones, a condition known in futures markets as "backwardation".