Financial Markets and Portfolio Management

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 275–295 | Cite as

Oil prices implied volatility or direction: Which matters more to financial markets?

  • Brice V. DupoyetEmail author
  • Corey A. Shank


We examine the impact of oil price uncertainty on US stock returns by industry using the US Oil Fund options implied volatility OVX index and a GJR-GARCH model. We test the effect of the implied volatility of oil on a wide array of domestic industries’ returns using daily data from 2007 to 2016, controlling for a variety of variables such as aggregate market returns, market volatility, exchange rates, interest rates, and inflation expectations. Our main finding is that the implied volatility of oil prices has a consistent and statistically significant negative impact on nine out of the ten industries defined in the Fama and French (J Financ Econ 43:153–193, 1997) 10-industry classification. Oil prices, on the other hand, yield mixed results, with only three industries showing a positive and significant effect, and two industries exhibiting a negative and significant effect. These findings are an indication that the volatility of oil has now surpassed oil prices themselves in terms of influence on financial markets. Furthermore, we show that both oil prices and their volatility have a positive and significant effect on corporate bond credit spreads. Overall, our results indicate that oil price uncertainty increases the risk of future cash flows for goods and services, resulting in negative stock market returns and higher corporate bond credit spreads.


Oil implied volatility OVX Stock returns Industries Credit spreads 

JEL Classifications

E43 G12 Q43 



The authors thank the two anonymous referees for their constructive and helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Swiss Society for Financial Market Research 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida International University, College of BusinessMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Wright School of BusinessDalton State CollegeDaltonUSA

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