Volatility Skew

DEFINITION of 'Volatility Skew'

The difference in implied volatility (IV) between out-of-the-money, at-the-money and in-the-money options. Volatility skew, which is affected by sentiment and the supply/demand relationship, provides information on whether fund managers prefer to write calls or puts.

Also known as "vertical skew".

Volatility Skew

BREAKING DOWN 'Volatility Skew'

A situation where at-the-money options have lower IVs than out-of-the-money options is sometimes referred to as a volatility "smile", due to the shape it creates on a chart (as above). In markets such as the equity markets, a skew occurs because money managers usually prefer to write calls over puts.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the relationship between implied volatility and the volatility skew?

    The volatility skew refers to the shape of implied volatilities for options graphed across the range of strike prices for ... Read Full Answer >>
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    Implied volatility is derived from the Black-Scholes formula and is an important element for how the value of options are ... Read Full Answer >>
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