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Saturday, October 17, 2009


VIX is the ticker symbol for the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, a popular measure of the implied volatility of S&P 500 index options. A high value corresponds to a more volatile market and therefore more costly options, which can be used to defray risk from this volatility by selling options. Often referred to as the fear index, it represents one measure of the market's expectation of volatility over the next 30 day period.

The VIX is calculated and disseminated in real-time by the Chicago Board Options Exchange. It is a weighted blend of prices for a range of options on the S&P 500 index. The formula uses a kernel-smoothed estimator that takes as inputs the current market prices for all out-of-the-money calls and puts for the front month and second month expirations. The goal is to estimate the implied volatility of the S&P 500 index over the next 30 days.

The VIX is the square root of the par variance swap rate for a 30 day term initiated today. Note that the VIX is the volatility of a variance swap and not that of a volatility swap (volatility being the square root of variance). A variance swap can be perfectly statically replicated through vanilla puts and calls whereas a volatility swap requires dynamic hedging. The VIX is the risk neutral expectation of S&P volatility over the next 30 calendar days. The VIX is quoted on an annualized variance basis.

1993 - The VIX Index was introduced in a paper by Professor Robert E. Whaley of Duke University.

The VIX has replaced the older VXO as the preferred volatility index used by the media.

Saturday, October 10, 2009