Volatile volatility

November 4, 2009

I was struck by the phrase “volatility itself has been volatile” in the FT article this morning. It pretty much sums up both the confusion and concerns in the market about whether risky assets are at an inflection point or taking a breather before embarking on another leg up.

The central bank meetings this week certainly aren’t helping, but the FOMC, the ECB or the BOE aren’t likely to do anything that’s going to signal a shift in policy. FOMC should keep the phrase “extended period,” while ECB isn’t likely to given any new insights on the euro or interest rates. The BOE could add more fuel to its quantatitive easing program, but that would hardly be earth-shattering news given its losing streak on growth.

There is the U.S. employment report later in the week, but no one is expecting a turnaround there either. In fact, most have their eyes on the magic 10, as in 10% unemployment that seems simply inevitable given the lousy job market.

Still, the VIX – the fear gauge that measures equity market volatility – is, well, looking pretty volatile.

Chart below.

vix

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