What is Options' Volatility?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 January 2020
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Options volatility is simply a term that describes the degree of risk associated with a given investment option. The amount of volatility present with the investment in question is usually determined by taking into consideration key factors that make it possible to adequately project the future performance of the investment. By making an informed projection on future performance, investors can decide of the degree of risk or volatility involved is worth the amount of return that can reasonably be expected from the option.

In general, options volatility seeks to define the potential for change in the value of a stock or other option. Ideally, it indicates that there is a good chance the option will increase in value within a given period of time, assuming certain factors either remain constant or are introduced in the near future. A movement of this type would indicate the degree of risk associated with the option would be worth the investment when weighed against the total amount of the return earned from the activity.


Determining options volatility involves three basic elements. First, it is necessary to past performance of the option within specific market circumstances. Next, the current standing under current market conditions must be evaluated thoroughly, allowing the investor to grasp why the option is performing a certain way in today’s stock market. Last, options volatility looks at how the option is expected to perform when and if specific events come to pass and influence the movement of the option as the market undergoes changes in the future.

Collecting the historical data and applying it to today’s standing in order to project what is likely to occur in the future is a basic options strategy designed to give the investor the best possible understanding of what to expect with any given investment option. The process makes is possible to grasp the very nature of stock options that are of interest to the investor, as well as possibly point the way toward other trading options that are likely to earn a decent return without encountering the same degree of risk or volatility. However, this process is rarely anything that can be conducted in a matter of minutes. Often, it takes time to assemble the relevant data and then use the information to predict what is likely to happen with a given future time frame.

It is important to note that determining the options volatility does not necessarily mean the stock option is guaranteed to perform in the manner projected. Any number of unforeseen factors can arise and impact performance of any stock or group of stocks. Factors such as natural disasters, a sudden change in government officials, or a sweeping new technology that displaces formerly popular technologies can and do impact options volatility with no advance warning whatsoever. Still, the potential for earning a decent return on any investment must involve determining the options volatility using all known data in the most responsible and logical manner possible.



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