Today, the SPX settled down .49 points. This will show up as essentially as a 0 in realized volatility terms as measured by GARCH which is what most brokerage firms use to measure HV. But does that tell the whole story?
As we all know, vol can go anywhere, but is unlikely to stay there. While HV can touch into the low single digits for short periods of time, it doesn't stay there long. Take a look at a 2 year chart of 10 day HV and 30 day IV
Argentina devalued the peso today along with China providing less than stellar manufacturing data. It all added up to a mad dash for Treasuries and other safe havens like the Euro. What a difference a year makes. It was not too long ago that the run to above 3% in T-bills was a sure thing. At least, over the last few weeks coming into 2014 that is not the case.
It appears that the movement in the 10 year note has stopped being completely crazy. However, this does not mean that movement has stopped all together. In fact the 10 year and 30 year are both moving at a nice clip on a daily basis. The 14 day ATR on the 10 year is still WAY above where it traded before the ‘taper talk’ began. Looking at ETF’s that ATR of TLT is about 1.25 a day over the last 14 days. Yet, take a look at the 30 day IV chart of TLT
As the SPX continues its rally though 1630 and toward 1650, may a novice is asking why the VIX isn’t touching all-time lows. The answer is simple: volatility
When the VIX got to its recent low realized volatility was in the toilet. We had been through about 2 straight months of nothingness. 10 Day HV was near 5 and both 20 and 30 day HV were near 10%. Looking at HV now we can see a clear difference. 10 day HV is closer to 10% and 20 and 30 day are actually trading at a premium to VIX.
One thing that is really interesting is how high realized volatility is in the VIX right now. While VVIX might be elevated, it actually pales in comparison to where realized vol on VIX cash is (even if the futures haven't been moving):
What causes this? One major thing to remember about volatility is that it represents standard deviations. The lower the price of the underlying, the lower the standard deviation should be. The VIX has, as you should know by now, really fallen off.
While the big news around Option Pit Mentoring is the VIX closing below 12 again, SPX is not the only major product with IV in the toilet. GLD IV is getting crazy cheap. The GVZ is trading at 6 months lows and near all time lows.
Last night in my webinar for RCM I discussed how I will use the VIX as a multi day indicator for trading. One of my key points, is that if the SPX is higher over several days, and IV is also higher, or not falling over several days, then IV is pointing toward a possible sell off. If we look at what has happened over the last few days, we can clearly see that IV is not really dropping and SPX is rallying.