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Investing Glossary

Supervest, LLC

Volatility

Volatility is a statistical measure of the dispersion of returns for a given security or market index. In most cases, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security. Volatility is often measured from either the standard deviation or variance between returns from that same security or market index. In the securities markets, volatility is often associated with big swings in either direction. For example, when the stock market rises and falls more than one percent over a sustained period of time, it is called a “volatile” market. An asset’s volatility is a key factor when pricing options contracts. Volatility represents how large an asset’s prices swing around the mean priceā€”it is a statistical measure of its dispersion of returns. There are several ways to measure volatility, including beta coefficients, option pricing models, and standard deviations of returns. Volatile assets are often considered riskier than less volatile assets because the price is expected to be less predictable. Volatility often refers to the amount of uncertainty or risk related to the size of changes in a security’s value. A higher volatility means that a security’s value can potentially be spread out over a larger range of values. This means that the price of the security can change dramatically over a short time period in either direction. A lower volatility means that a security’s value does not fluctuate dramatically, and tends to be more steady.

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