Volatility is defined as the rate at which the price of a security increases or decreases for a given set of returns. It indicates the risk associated with the changing price of the security and is measured by calculating the standard deviation of the annualized returns over a given period of time.
In other words- it measures the risk of a security. It is used in option pricing formula to gauge the fluctuations in the returns of the underlying assets. Volatility indicates the pricing behavior of the security and helps estimate the fluctuations that may happen in a short period of time.
If the prices of a security fluctuate rapidly in a short time span, it is termed to have high volatility. If the prices of a security fluctuate slowly in a longer time span, it is termed to have low volatility.
Investors and traders calculate the volatility of a security to assess past variations in the prices to predict their future movements. Volatility is determined either by using the standard deviation or beta. Standard deviation measures the amount of dispersion in a security’s prices. Beta determines a security’s volatility relative to that of the overall market. Beta can be calculated using regression analysis.
There Are Two Types Of Volatility
- Historical Volatility
This measures the fluctuations in the security’s prices in the past. It is used to predict the future movements of prices based on previous trends. However, it does not provide insights regarding the future trend or direction of the security’s price.
- Implied Volatility
This refers to the volatility of the underlying asset, which will return the theoretical value of an option equal to the option’s current market price. Implied volatility is a key parameter in option pricing. It provides a forward-looking aspect on possible future price fluctuations.