highest volatility in 70 yrs

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by itcanbedone, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. check it out

    US Stock Volatility Climbs to Highest in 70 Years, S&P Says

    By Jeff Kearns

    March 20 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. stock market is the most volatile in 70 years, according to a Standard & Poor's study of daily price swings in the S&P 500.

    The benchmark for American equities has advanced or declined 1 percent or more on 28 days this year. That's 52 percent of the trading sessions so far, which is the highest proportion since 1938, said Howard Silverblatt, S&P's senior index analyst. The S&P 500 lost 12 percent in 2008 through yesterday following $195 billion in bank losses related to subprime mortgages.

    ``The enormous uncertainty of the market is translating into volatility,'' New York-based Silverblatt said in an interview. ``Everyone is reacting to the day-to-day events as opposed to the longer-term trends.''

    In 1938, the most volatile year since the index's inception in 1928, the S&P 500 rose or fell at least 1 percent during 57 percent of the trading days, according to Silverblatt's analysis. The measure advanced 25 percent that year.

    Option prices, which increase when investors expect wider share-price swings, have risen this year. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, the price gauge for contracts linked to the S&P 500, has averaged 26.15. That's 49 percent higher than the level in 2007. The so-called VIX closed at a five-year high of 32.24 on March 17.

    In 2002, when U.S. stocks hit bottom after collapsing in March 2000, 1 percent moves in the S&P 500 occurred 50 percent of the time, Silverblatt said. That fell to 12 percent in 2006 and 13 percent during the first half of last year. The figure increased to 39 percent during the second half of 2007.

    ``The upcoming earnings season appears poised to add to the volatility,'' Silverblatt wrote in a report yesterday. Profit ``estimates are unusually wide, given how close to the quarter end we are.''

    The first quarter concludes in less than two weeks. Alcoa Inc. is scheduled to become the first member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average to report results for the period on April 7.
  2. Bespoke http://bespokeinvest.typepad.com/ has a different set of facts about recent volatility.

    "One and Two Percent Days Becoming the Norm

    A whopping 44 of the last 90 trading days have been moves of 1% (+/-) or more in the S&P 500. Fifteen of the last 90 trading days have been 2% days. Below we provide a historical rolling 90-day sum of 1% and 2% days in the index. While we've been constantly reading and hearing that the current period of volatility is unlike anything ever seen before, it isn't. As shown, the number of 1% days reached 64 out of 90 back in October 2002, 56 out of 90 back in 1988, and 54 out of 90 back in 1974."
  3. EricP


    The difference is that S&P is (incorrectly) comparing the volatility from 11 weeks of trading in 2008 against the full year volatility in prior years. This is obviously not a valid comparison, while your link correctly compares a equal time durations (90 day periods) to get a different, and more correct, result. Poor financial reporting by S&P, IMO.
  4. Definitely agreed. I saw this yesterday (notice my comment on the seekingalpha article ... I post the spreadsheet itself).

    One year vs 11 weeks is silly.

    Now a rolling past 252 trading days versus 1938 might be a valid comparison. But of course, the numbers are much different.