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What are measures of volatility?

With regard to stock prices and stock index levels, volatility is a measure of changes in price expressed in percentage terms without regard to direction. This means that a rise from 200 to 202 in one index is equal in volatility terms to a rise from 100 to 101 in another index, because both changes are 1 percent. Also, a 1 percent price rise is equal in volatility terms to a 1- percent price decline. There are two measures, VIX and VXN.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Market Volatility Index, known as the VIX, is the oldest and best-known measurement of options volatility. VIX reflects fear and optimism as measured by options activity. This measurement has been the benchmark of market volatility for over 15 years. Widely watched, the VIX is calibrated from certain call and put prices of short-term options on the Standard and Poor’s 100 Index. When the VIX exhibits high readings it means the market is becoming oversold (excess of bearishness) and when there are low VIX readings the market is becoming overbought (excess of bullishness). So when the VIX is at extremes it usually gives a good signal of an impending short-term bottom or top. VXN
With the emergence of NASDAQ stocks, a different volatility measurement tool was needed. The CBOE NASDAQ Volatility Index, VXN, is the newest benchmark of "tech stock" volatility based on the implied volatility of Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) options. It is calculated using the same methodology as the CBOE Market Volatility Index VIX, and constructed so that, at any given time, it represents the implied volatility of a hypothetical at-the-money NDX option with thirty calendar days to expiration.