Monday, March 10, 2014

what is volatility?

Volatility on an instrument can be defined in terms of the normal distribution curve, a bell shaped curve, if curve is flatter and wider, it represents the occurrences of a wider range of prices for a particular period of time. A more narrow and cylindrical (taller) curve, representing a narrower range for the price occurrences. In the first case the instrument will be considered a high volatility vs the latter case.

Lets say we have two stocks each priced at $100, we buy a $110 call expiring in 30 days. Now lets suppose the 1st stock moves only $.5 each day, while the 2nd one moves $5 each day. In 1st scenario the of the $110 call option, the stock has to move up for 60 consecutive days  for the option to end up in the money. The 2nd stock with price moving $5 each day the stock has to move up only two days for the option to end up in the money. That is why volatility matters and options are priced differently.

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