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Forecasts that are made in the options market rely on implied volatility (IV) for an estimate of what your trade is worth in terms of risk. As a specific metric, implied volatility can also give investors insights about the profit range their contract might see. Though markets tend to set such implied metrics within presented prices, option writers specifically look at volatility, and you can also. 

Implied Volatility and Options

In options trading, implied volatility determines the expected range of your probabilities. All IV ranges have two spectrums, which, when played out in a live market, result in any combination of outcomes. There are buyers and sellers who enter what’s a “zero-sum game” called options trading. To make this theory of volatility simpler, the chances of higher volatility are greater when the market is low in volatility. 

The chances of lower volatility are greater when the current market has high volatility. If this explanation seems a bit confusing, then attribute that to the nature of volatility. At any given moment, sudden volatility can make an entire financial market shift directions. 

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What is Volatility?

Volatility, with no bias toward selling or buying, expresses the rate of price moves within financial markets. You can look at volatility in terms of liquidity also. For prices to move from any point to another, substantial amounts of orders or money is required. Having a flood of cash enter the market makes price points easier to reach. The rate that those prices are reached is measured in terms of volatility. 

Factors Affecting IV

As it relates to options trading, implied volatility is prewritten into your trading platform and its pricing. Options brokers use time to measure out the implied volatility of an options contract. Options contracts give investors the right to buy or sell an asset at a specific price at a future date. The amount of time before a contract expires influences its IV. Additionally, risk is also measured based on how volatile it is. 

The more risk that IV suggests a position to have, the higher you’re likely to pay for that trade. This is why probability is a key factor influencing your opening of a contract. Implied volatility has no guarantees, but it does establish a useful estimation. It might even encourage you to think twice about your contracts. 

The Pros and Cons of Implied Volatility

Knowing the pros and cons of implied volatility can help you to use it solely to your benefit. The prices you pay for your options are partly based on IV. This measurement gives you something to build a strategy from. It can even ensure that you pay better rates to open your contracts. Just be sure to consider the unpredictable nature of volatility. The implied volatility rank of your contract does not give an %100 prediction. 

When the price range of your contract has foreseeable volatility, try to strategize for timing specifically. You might pay a bit more for high volatility positions, but they can also produce the highest returns.

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