2002, pp 127-144

The Analysis of Implied Volatilities

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The analysis of volatility in financial markets has become a first rank issue in modern financial theory and practice: Whether in risk management, portfolio hedging, or option pricing, we need to have a precise notion of the market’s expectation of volatility. Much research has been done on the analysis of realized historic volatilities, Roll (1977) and references therein. However, since it seems unsettling to draw conclusions from past to expected market behavior, the focus shifted to implied volatilities, Dumas, Fleming and Whaley (1998). To derive implied volatiUties the Black and Scholes (BS) formula is solved for the constant volatility parameter σ using observed option prices. This is a more natural approach as the option value is decisively determined by the market’s assessment of current and future volatility. Hence implied volatility may be used as an indicator for market expectations over the remaining lifetime of the option.