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Volatility Ratio


The Volatility Ratio is a financial metric that measures the degree of price variation in a security, commodity, or market index over a specific period of time. It is calculated as the highest price minus the lowest price during a given period, divided by the closing price. In essence, it provides a statistical representation of a security’s price swings offering a perspective on its price stability.


The phonetics for the keyword “Volatility Ratio” is: /vɒləˈtɪlɪti ˈreɪʃioʊ/

Key Takeaways

<ol> <li>Volatility Ratio, developed by Jack Schwager, is used to identify price patterns and market direction. It is an indicator that measures the current volatility of a financial instrument in comparison to its volatility over a certain number of past days.</li> <li>A higher Volatility Ratio indicates a more volatile market and potentially signifies a change in market trends, either indicating a new trend or reversal. Traders use it to spot these significant changes and make trading decisions based on the analysis.</li> <li>The Volatility Ratio is also adaptable to different timeframes. This makes it a versatile tool that can be used by day traders, swing traders, and long-term investors, as it allows them to tailor the indicator to fit their specific trading strategy and risk tolerance.</li></ol>


The Volatility Ratio is significant in business/finance as it provides an insight into price patterns and market behavior. This ratio, often used by traders and investors, measures the volatility or uncertainty within a market or security. High volatility ratio indicates a large price movement, which could represent potential risk or profit possibilities for investors. On the other hand, low volatility suggests a stable market with smaller price fluctuations, thus attracting risk-averse investors or traders. Understanding the volatility ratio can help in making informed investment decisions, by predicting future price movements, managing risk, and timing investment entries and exits, thus influencing the overall portfolio performance.


The volatility ratio is a decisive tool used in finance and businesses to understand and quantify the level of price variation a financial instrument experiences over a given period. It aids in assessing the market risk or the security-specific risk associated with an investment. It is often used by investors and market analysts to predict the price trends, thereby guiding their investment decisions. Higher volatility suggests greater price variability, indicating higher potential returns or losses, while lesser volatility indicates a more stable price movement.Furthermore, the volatility ratio is also useful in comparing the volatility of different securities or financial instruments. For example, if you have two potential investment options and you want to choose the one with lesser risk, you might compare their volatility ratios. The one with the lower ratio would typically be considered less risky. Therefore, this ratio is not just essential for determining price trends and potential trading opportunities, but it also assists in insightful risk management.


The Volatility Ratio is a tool used by traders to identify potential price breakouts. It’s measured by using standard deviation or true range. Here are three examples:1. Stock Market Trading: Traders may use the volatility ratio to predict potential price movements of a specific stock. For instance, if Apple Inc.’s share has a high volatility ratio, it signifies that the stock price has substantial price variations, confirming that it could be a good candidate for trading.2. Foreign Exchange (Forex) Market: Forex traders might use the volatility ratio to decide which currency pairs to trade. For instance, if the EUR/USD currency pair has a high volatility ratio, it denotes high price variation, suggesting that it may provide traders with an opportunity for higher profits. However, with the opportunity for higher gains also comes increased risk.3. Commodity Trading: Commodity traders may use the volatility ratio to determine potential price motions of a specific commodity. For example, if the volatility ratio of crude oil is high, it signifies the price of crude oil is highly sensitive to economic changes, and its price varies largely, thus making it potentially profitable for traders. However, similar to the above scenarios, high volatility also denotes high risk.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Volatility Ratio in finance?

The Volatility Ratio is a financial indicator that measures the market volatility of a particular security compared to a benchmark index, usually the S&P 500. It helps identify securities with substantial price changes.

How is the Volatility Ratio calculated?

The Volatility Ratio is calculated by dividing the True Range of a security by the True Range of a benchmark index. The True Range for a security, or index, refers to the largest of the following: the current high less the current low, the absolute value of the current high less the previous close, or the absolute value of the current low less the previous close.

Can you explain the interpretation of Volatility Ratio?

In general, a higher Volatility Ratio suggests greater price swings and, therefore, higher volatility. Typically, a Volatility Ratio above 1.5 is considered significant, suggesting the investment is experiencing higher volatility than the benchmark.

How often should the Volatility Ratio be calculated?

The Volatility Ratio is usually calculated daily, but it can be measured over any time period. Investors might monitor it daily but consider longer-term averages for investment decisions.

What is considered a high Volatility Ratio?

Generally, a Volatility Ratio higher than 1.0 indicates that a security is more volatile than the benchmark index. A ratio exceeding 1.5 is often considered high, suggesting potentially significant price fluctuations.

What is the prime use of Volatility Ratio?

The prime use of the Volatility Ratio is to identify securities that are potentially experiencing significant price changes and might be breaking out from the previous price patterns. Such information can be valuable to traders and investors when making investment decisions.

What are the limitations of the Volatility Ratio?

Although the Volatility Ratio provides valuable information about potential price changes, it only measures volatility, not the direction of price movements. Also, it may give false signals during periods of unusual market conditions. Like all indicators, it must be used in conjunction with other analysis and indicators.

Related Finance Terms

  • Standard Deviation: A statistical measure that indicates the dispersion degree of a particular dataset from its mean. Used in volatility ratio calculation.
  • Implied Volatility: Derived from an option’s price and is indicative of the market’s sentiment of future levels of volatility.
  • Historical Volatility: The fluctuation of an asset’s value over a defined period based on historical data.
  • Beta: A measurement of an asset’s volatility in relation to the volatility of a particular benchmark or market.
  • Volatility Index: Measures market expectations for future volatility, such as the VIX (CBOE Volatility Index).

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