Shortly after US cash equity markets opened, VIX – which has been in freefall for the last few days – flash-smashed from 20 to almost 23… and almost instantaneously back down, prompting further gains in stocks…
Notably, VIX is actually trading dramatically below historical vol. VIX has fallen for 8 of the past 10 trading sessions, dropping to 20 on Wednesday versus 36 in mid-December. As Bloomberg notes, that’s at odds with large realized swings in U.S. stocks — a potentially unsustainable divergence.
“Market internals imply a VIX of 31 based on trailing realized volatility and five-day SPX returns,” UBS Group AG strategist Stuart Kaiser wrote in a note about the gauge’s fair value. “60-day realized volatility above 25 percent is the largest driver of that estimate.”
With big down days for the stock market likely, the sizable gap between implied and historic price swings may be untenable, according to Wells Fargo & Co. strategist Pravit Chintawongvanich.
“Historically, when VIX diverges this much from realized vol, it usually ‘catches up’ sometime in the next month,” he wrote in a note Wednesday. “The VIX has dropped rapidly as the market rallies, despite high realized volatility. The VIX at 20 is 10 points below one-month realized vol of 30.”
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