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Implied Volatility: Understand IV Percentile and IV Rank

15 June 20235 mins read by Angel One
Equip yourself with the knowledge of implied volatility, IV Percentile, and IV Rank, and unlock a world of possibilities in options trading.
Implied Volatility: Understand IV Percentile and IV Rank
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In the exhilarating realm of options trading, understanding volatility is the key to gaining an edge. Volatility is the lifeblood of the options markets, pulsating with potential profits and risks. As an options trader, it is imperative to delve into the depths of volatility, exploring its nuances and harnessing its power. 

Simply put, volatility refers to the fluctuating movements of an underlying security, disregarding its direction. Stocks that exhibit stability are classified as having low volatility, while those prone to dramatic price swings in any direction possess high volatility. Yet, many novice option traders fail to grasp the profound implications of volatility, leading to a host of problems and missed opportunities. 

Without a clear understanding of volatility and its impact, accurate forecasts regarding the movement of options prices become elusive. As traders, we must acquaint ourselves with two crucial measures of volatility: historical and implied volatility. Historical volatility is a statistical measure of returns dispersion over a specific timeframe, while implied volatility (IV) serves as an estimation of future volatility. 

Implied volatility is a dynamic figure, constantly shifting based on the options marketplace’s activity. It is vital to comprehend the significance of implied volatility. It enables us to determine whether options are relatively expensive or cheaper, guiding our trading decisions. 

Now, let’s delve into two indispensable methods that empower options traders to assess the affordability of an option to its past performance. 

Implied Volatility Rank (IV Rank) quantifies a stock’s current implied volatility within its range over a designated period, usually a year. In simpler terms, IV Rank indicates whether the current implied volatility falls between the high and low levels observed within the selected period. 

To calculate the one-year IV Rank, employ the following formula: 

Current IV – IV Minimum (low) of the period / IV Maximum (high) of the period – IV Minimum (low) of the period * 100. 

For example, suppose stock XYZ exhibits an implied volatility of 25%, with a one-year IV range between 18% and 38%. Calculating the IV Rank yields 25 – 18 / 38 – 18 * 100 = 35%. 

An IV Rank of 35% suggests that the current implied volatility is relatively closer to the low end of historical levels. It reveals that the current IV represents only 35% of the entire IV range observed over the past year. 

Moving on to the Implied Volatility Percentile (IV Percentile), it informs us of the percentage of days in the past when a stock’s implied volatility was lower than its current IV. IV Percentile highlights the proportion of days during a specified period when implied volatility closed below the present IV. 

To calculate IV Percentile, use the following formula: 

Number of days with IV lower than current IV / Number of days in the chosen period * 100  

For instance, let’s say stock XYZ currently exhibits an implied volatility of 30%. Over the past 252 days, you discover that in the last 160 days, the stock’s IV has been below 30%. In this case, the IV Percentile is calculated as 160 / 252 * 100 = 63.49%. 

An IV Percentile of 63.49% signifies that the stock’s current IV has been below 30% on approximately 63.49% of the days over the past year. 

When the IV percentile for an underlying is high, it means that option prices are also higher than usual. This creates an opportunity to sell options with elevated premiums using strategies like strangles, straddles, vertical spreads (credit spreads), and iron condors. 

On the other hand, when the IV percentile is low, it suggests that option prices are relatively lower. During these periods of lower implied volatility, traders often prefer net long positions in options. This means they tend to buy options, anticipating that the stock price will rise. By going long on options during these calmer times, you position yourself to potentially profit from price increases while taking advantage of lower-cost options. 

For options traders, understanding IV Rank and IV Percentile is essential when initiating options strategies. These concepts form the bedrock of options trading, guiding us in selecting the right strategies based on volatility and pricing dynamics. 

Equip yourself with the knowledge of implied volatility, IV Percentile, and IV Rank, and unlock a world of possibilities in options trading. Seize the opportunities that volatility presents, and let it propel your trading success to new heights! 

Remember, in the thrilling domain of options, it’s all about volatility and pricing. Take charge, strategize wisely, and set sail on a path paved with potential profits. 

Start your journey to options mastery today and witness the transformative impact of implied volatility, IV Percentile, and IV Rank! 


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