Chart of the Week: Volatility Index

Back in January 2006, I suggested that the period of long placidness in markets were coming to an end, and that it was a good trade to Buy Volatility.

That turned out to be an even better trade than I hoped/feared: Here’s a nice looking graph from the National Post, showing the records highs in the VIX:


Market Volatility Reaches Depression-Era Levels.


Sources: Bloomberg News, Andrew Barr, National Post


"Market uncertainty has caused the S&P 500 index to swing at least 1% in either direction on 53% of all trading days this year. That makes the current period of investing the fourth-most volatile period ever, and pushes it past 2002 levels to be the most volatile since 1938, during the Depression era. [T]here was a good chance the current market will break the 1938 record, when the index rose or fell by at least 1% on 57% of trading days over the equivalent period . . .

The better equity market performance caused the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, a key measure of future market volatility, to fall 0.89 points yesterday, or 3.3%, to 25.73. Over the past year, the index has traded at a low of 11.46 and a high of 37.57.

"We’re in a period where nobody quite knows if there’s another Bear Stearns out there, and as long as that kind of environment is pervasive, I think you’ll continually to see these big upside and downside days," he said, adding his firm increased its cash investment position last summer to avoid the wild equity market swings. Mr. Bjorgen said even professionals were unsure where to put their money or how long the volatility will last.

Good stuff . . .


Volatility highest in 60 years Likely To Continue
Alia McMullen
Financial Post  Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Category: Markets, Technical Analysis, Trading

Out of Pocket Most of Today

Category: Financial Press

Bloomberg vs CNBC Video: Bleccch

Yesterday, I noted how pokey and bug laden the videos are on, saying "I sure wish CNBC would get hip to embeddable flash media, like
BrightCove. The klunky old windows media players crash all the time. (I
don’t understand why they went with this 10 year old technology)."

Turns out there is an even worse Video feed from a major news organization than Its

At least CNBC — crash-prone, buggy, ugly and slow — will play on a Mac.

The Bloomberg video — also  crash-prone, buggy, ugly and slow — is Windows only! I can play the video, but not the audio, on a Safari or Firefox browser for OSX.

And speaking of bugs, Bloomberg is the one of that odd collection of web based video that can’t/won’t be captured by a screen grab on a Windows machine. That means that any Bloomberg video you see here (like this one) is the result of watching and coding it on a Dell in the office, than grabbing the (silent audio) video part on the Mac at home, and combining the two.

Don’t you want people promoting your brand and your content?

Its not like Bloomie doesn’t know what embeddable flash is — if you go to this page, their promotional video is not WMP — its flash based! No loading delay, no glitches, just straight up video.



Hey &

You folks are paying for the shooting, editing, storing, hosting and bandwidth usage of all this video. I assume you actually want people to see it — to sell subscriptions, to roll adverts, to brand your product.  You are spending all of this money for a product that sends people  running in the opposite direction. 

Every time I post a video from either of your sites, I get email telling me it crashed their browser, or even worse their computer. It is slow, ugly and to be blunt, unprofessional.  Your online video product is in fact damaging your brands. (CNN/Money’s video auto roll is another bit of annoyance, but we’ll save that for another day).

Of all the major  Financial media that run video, only WSJ and NYT seem to have gotten it right.

Um, its 2008. Can we get with program?  The embeddable flash video is circa 2006. Can you find it
in your business models to only be 2 years — not 10 — behind the
technological adoption curve?



Category: Financial Press, Television, Video, Web/Tech

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Category: Credit, Derivatives, Federal Reserve, Taxes and Policy

Kudlow Appearance (3/26/08)

Category: Media

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Category: Media

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Category: Books, Credit, Derivatives, Psychology

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Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Real Estate

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Category: Economy, Financial Press

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