1. What exactly is the VIX?
In 1993, the Chicago Board Options Exchange® (CBOE®) introduced the CBOE Volatility Index®, VIX®, and it quickly became the benchmark for stock market volatility. It is widely followed and has been cited in hundreds of news articles in the Wall Street Journal, Barron's and other leading financial publications. Since volatility often signifies financial turmoil, VIX is often referred to as the "investor fear gauge".
VIX measures market expectation of near term volatility conveyed by stock index option prices. The original VIX was constructed using the implied volatilities of eight different OEX option series so that, at any given time, it represented the implied volatility of a hypothetical at-the-money OEX option with exactly 30 days to expiration.
The New VIX still measures the market's expectation of 30-day volatility, but in a way that conforms to the latest thinking and research among industry practitioners. The New VIX is based on S&P 500 index option prices and incorporates information from the volatility "skew" by using a wider range of strike prices rather than just at-the-money series.