David Chaplin 's Opinion

A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

Inside Money: World ends after volatile trading

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'Dead on Friday - resurrected Wednesday' - the miracle of modern markets. Image / Thinkstock
'Dead on Friday - resurrected Wednesday' - the miracle of modern markets. Image / Thinkstock

Dead on Friday, resurrected the following Wednesday - the miracle of modern markets.

Is this one of those 'Jesus moments' I've heard so much about?

Or just further evidence of headlines overpromising and under-delivering? Is the world going to end now or what because if so I'll put my 2012 tax planning on hold and cancel the KiwiSaver contributions.

The wildly gyrating market headlines over the last few days and weeks leave most readers with a sense of helplessness more than anything else.

But when this alleged 'independent trader' tries to offer some practical advice he gets hammered. According to Allesio Rastani, markets are going to crap themselves, we should all, um, do some hedging strategies, buy some US Treasuries.

OK, Rastani wasn't that helpful at all but the video was good for a laugh and offered some insight into the mind of a trader even if, as some people suspect, he's a fake.

The underlying financial volatility, however, is real enough.

As the Chicago Board Options Exchange's Volatility Index (VIX), also known as the 'fear index', shows the recent market oscillations are closing in on 2008 levels.

Be afraid, but not that afraid, according to this article on the Seeking Alpha website.

"Even if we take last week's highest VIX reading of 43.87, a daily move in the S&P 500 of 4% would not be uncommon, but I don't think anyone really expects that to happen every single day," the article states in what could be positive news.

You will also learn that: "The implied volatility of options on the VIX (a "VIX of the VIX" so to speak) on a 60-day basis is roughly 95% as of Friday."

The genius, or insanity, of financial markets is that you can make trades based on almost anything numerical, including volatility as measured by the VIX.

But before you double up your VIX of the VIX bets read this headline first.

David Chaplin

A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

David is a freelance journalist who has covered the financial services business on both sides of the Tasman for over 15 years. David has edited magazines and websites for the financial advice, investment and superannuation industries. Today, he contributes to various publications in Australia as well as his bi-weekly blog for the NZ Herald under the 'Inside Money' banner.

Read more by David Chaplin

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