VIX Volatility Index Chart and Guide

Risk and the VIX
Some like it hot…

The Volatility Index

The Volatility Index, aka VIX, is often used to gauge stock market fear.

The VIX that most market commentators talk about is the one below, i.e. the one based on the S&P 500.

Note that the perceived market wisdom suggests that volatility in the FTSE 100, Dow Jones etc. will be “broadly” inline with the S&P 500 volatility.

Live VIX Volatility Index Chart

Reading the VIX

  • trending_upA high VIX reading suggests a lot of fear or pessimism in the market
  • trending_downA low VIX reading suggests a calm market/li>
The VIX can be a useful guide e.g. if the market seems very volatile, and you’re not sure why, you could check the VIX chart to see if it is the wider market being volatile or “just you” (and your bad trade).

Long-Term VIX Chart:

Below a long-term view of the VIX

Long-Term VIX Chart

When the VIX Goes Wrong

As you can see on the chart above, the VIX was at multi year lows in the months prior to the Financial Crisis of 2007.

Just because the market is calm, that doesn’t mean the market isn’t being stupid.

16 November 2017: VIX at Highest Levels Since 21 August

Yesterday the VIX hit 14.43, it’s highest level in nearly 3 months but there’s no need to get too excited.
Daily VIX Chart
This looks good until you look at the chart below…

Looking at the longer-term picture the VIX is still disappointingly low:
Weekly VIX Chart
It’s still a bit of a snoozefest…

(I say “disappointingly” because most people who spread bet prefer higher levels of volatility).

1 November 2017: VIX Stuck at Long-Term Lows

With the stock markets posting regular fresh highs it’s little surprise to see volatility at the lows.

Below the weekly and daily charts show that there’s precious little going on.

1 Week VIX Chart
1 Week VIX Chart

1 Day VIX Chart
1 Day VIX Chart

18 August 2017: Be Careful…

The VIX is up but only back to the levels of 2014-2016.

No panic needed but take extra care with your trading.

If volatility gets higher then think about pressing the pause button on your spread betting until the VIX comes back down.

Weekly VIX Chart
Weekly VIX Chart: 18 August 2017
Volatility Back to 2014-2016 Levels

11 August 2017 “Some” Good News for those Missing Volatility

So there’s lots of chat about volatility increasing due to North Korea’s continued nuclear provocations and Donald Trump‘s handling of that.

Assuming neither of the idiots presses the wrong button, this is good news for those who like volatility.

The VIX has risen from 9.5 on Tuesday to 16 on Thursday.

It’s nice to see the VIX moving up (anything below 10 is very low).

Having said that, in the grand scheme of things, as the weekly VIX chart below shows, 16 really isn’t that high either.

11 August 2017: Weekly VIX Chart
11 August 2017: Weekly VIX Chart

This suits me, a little more volatility is often welcome for swing trading.

At the same time though, I don’t want much more volatility. I like to plan my spread bets and don’t want to add a “random” factor.

Be careful if volatility is continues to increase. If in doubt:
  • warningReduce trade sizes
  • warningStop trading until the market clams down

25 July 2017: VIX at Multi-Year Lows

This VIX is at 9.43, i.e. multi-year lows.

The lowest it’s been since December 2012 when it hit 8.60. The prior low was 9.31 in December 1993.

AuthorAlex Turner

Senior Editor, SpreadBetMagazine

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Introduction to Technical Analysis

[…] Volatility indicators pick up changes in market volatility. This can, for example, be a sudden change in the average movement of the price during a specific time period. Examples include Bollinger Bands and the ATR (Average True Range). Also see Volatility Index (VIX) chart and guide. […]