IV Rank vs IV Percentile: Discover How These Tools Shape Smart Options Trading Decisions

Jeremy BiberdorfBy: Jeremy Biberdorf

July 4, 2024July 4, 2024

In the world of options trading, understanding how to navigate through market volatility is key, and that’s where tools like IV Rank and IV Percentile play a crucial role. Both metrics offer invaluable insights into the current volatility compared to historical levels, but they measure slightly different aspects.

These tools don’t just help traders assess risk; they guide us in choosing strategies based on how turbulent or calm the market is. Continue reading as I dive deeper into the unique benefits and nuances of IV Rank vs IV Percentile, enhancing your toolkit for smarter, more informed trading decisions in this ever evolving environment.

If you prefer learning through video, check out the video below as it covers the nuances of IV Rank vs IV Percentile.

Implied Volatility Rank vs. Implied Volatility Percentile

Key Takeaways

  • IV Rank compares the current implied volatility to its range over the past year, helping traders identify whether market volatility is unusually high or low.
  • IV Percentile measures how often the current implied volatility exceeds historical daily volatility over a given period, indicating the rarity of the current volatility level.
  • Both metrics guide traders on the best times to buy or sell options based on how current volatility compares to past trends.
  • Traders leverage IV Rank and IV Percentile to tailor their strategies, optimizing their approach to buying or selling options based on anticipated market movements.

Basics You Must Know To Understand IV Rank and IV Percentile

Before you can understand IV Rank and IV Percentile, you should have some basic knowledge. If any of the following terms aren’t familiar to you, consider reading my option trading basics article and then finishing this article.

  1. Implied Volatility (IV): The market’s forecast of a likely movement in a security’s price.
  2. Option Premium: The price that traders pay for an option. It is directly influenced by the implied volatility. For a deeper dive into this subject check out my article on what is good implied volatility for options.
  3. Strike Price: The price at which the holder of an option can buy (in the case of a call) or sell (in the case of a put) the underlying asset.
  4. Expiration Date: The date on which the option contract expires.
  5. Call Option: An option contract that gives the owner the right, but not the obligation, to buy a stock at a specified price within a specific time period.
  6. Put Option: An option contract that gives the owner the right, but not the obligation, to sell a stock at a specified price within a specific time period.
  7. Historical Volatility: The annualized standard deviation of past stock price movements. It shows how much the stock price fluctuated on a day-to-day basis over a one-year period.
  8. Market Sentiment: The overall attitude of investors toward a particular security or financial market.

What is IV Rank?

IV Rank, or Implied Volatility Rank, is a handy tool used by options traders to figure out how the current level of implied volatility compares to what it’s been over the past year. Think of it like a scoreboard that tells you whether the current volatility is high or low compared to its yearly highs and lows.

Here’s how it works: IV Rank measures where the current implied volatility stands in relation to its range over the last 12 months. It’s given as a percentage.

What High and Low IV Rank Means

Traders lean on IV Rank to decide when to jump into the options market. Here’s what they look out for:

  • High IV Rank: If the IV Rank is over 50%, it suggests that volatility is on the higher end compared to the past year. This scenario is often seen as a prime time to sell options since higher volatility can lead to pricier options premiums — and that means potentially better returns if you’re selling.
  • Low IV Rank: On the flip side, if the IV Rank is below 50%, it indicates that the volatility is relatively low. This might be a good time to buy options because lower volatility usually means lower premiums, reducing the cost of entry and the risk if you’re looking to profit from potential future price movements.

By keeping an eye on IV Rank, traders can strategically choose the best times to buy or sell options, aiming to maximize their returns by entering the market when prices align favorably with historical volatility trends. It’s like having a historical roadmap that helps you navigate the often unpredictable terrain of the options market.

What is IV Percentile?

IV Percentile is an important metric in options trading that measures how the current level of implied volatility (IV) compares to its values over a specific past period, usually the last year. It represents the percentage of trading days that had a lower implied volatility than today.

For example, if the IV Percentile is 80%, it indicates that today’s IV exceeds that of 80% of the days observed in the past year, providing a clear historical perspective on how unusual the current volatility is.

How Traders Use IV Percentile

Ultimately, traders will have to use their trading style and experience to choose how to respond to IV percentile, but here are some general guidelines:

  • High IV Percentile (above 75%): This indicates that the current IV is near the top of its historical range. Such a high percentile often suggests a market expectation of increased risk or significant price movements. Options traders might see this as an opportunity to sell options because the higher implied volatility inflates option premiums, potentially offering greater returns from selling high-priced options in a volatile market.
  • Low IV Percentile (below 20%): A low IV Percentile means that the current volatility is lower than it has been for the majority of the past year, signaling less uncertainty or risk in the market. This scenario is generally favorable for buying options, as lower premiums make options cheaper to acquire. Traders might use this opportunity to engage in strategies that benefit from an increase in volatility or significant price movements without the high initial cost.

Option Strategies For High IV Percentile

A high IV percentile can show that premiums are high, which means short option strategies could be good choices. Some of these strategies include covered calls and secured puts. Check out my covered calls article or secured puts article for more information.

Option Strategies For Low IV Percentile

Alternatively, Low IV Percentile strategies are geared towards buying strategies like long straddles and debit spread strategies. Read my Long straddles or debit spread strategies article if you would like to dig deeper into those strategies.

IV Rank vs IV Percentile: How Are They Calculated?

If you already have a quality stock screener, you can skip this section, as your stock screener will provide you with these important indicators. If you don’t have a preferred stock screener, I suggest taking a look at TradingView. TradingView is a highly recommended cloud-based, screener that incorporates social networking to create a community of traders. Check out my TradingView review to see everything it offers.

How IV Rank is Calculated

IV Rank quantifies where the current implied volatility stands in relation to its high and low over a specific period, typically the past year. It is expressed as a percentage that shows the proportion of the difference between the current IV and the lowest IV in relation to the overall range (highest to lowest) of IV values recorded.

IV Rank Formula:

IV Rank = (Current IV – Minimum IV) / (Maximum IV – Minimum IV) * 100

  • Current IV: The implied volatility level on the day of calculation.
  • Minimum IV: The lowest recorded IV level over the specified period.
  • Maximum IV: The highest IV recorded during the same period.

The result tells traders how high or low the current IV is compared to its historical fluctuations, with a higher percentage indicating a relative high and a lower percentage a relative low.

How IV Percentile is Calculated

IV Percentile, on the other hand, deals with the frequency of days on which the IV was below the current level over a defined period. It provides a broader view of how today’s IV compares to past values by counting the number of days with lower IV and expressing this as a percentage of the total number of observed days.

IV Percentile Formula:

IV Percentile = (Number of Days with IV below Current IV / Total Number of Days) * 100

  • Number of Days with IV below Current IV: How many days featured an IV lower than today’s.
  • Total Number of Days: The total days in the period being analyzed (often one year or 252 trading days).

This calculation tells traders how frequently the IV has been below the current level, giving an indication of whether today’s IV is unusually high or low.

IV Rank vs IV Percentile: My Final Thoughts

As you learn more about options trading, harnessing tools like IV Rank and IV Percentile can significantly sharpen your market perspective. These metrics not only show the current volatility landscape but also empower you to make decisions aligned with historical data.

Whether you’re deciding when to buy or sell options, understanding these indicators can offer you a solid edge in navigating market movements. Remember, every trader needs a robust platform that can support their strategy execution; check out my Robinhood review to see if it’s the right tool for your trading journey. Stay informed, stay strategic, and let these insights guide you to more confident trading decisions.

Jeremy Biberdorf
Jeremy Biberdorf

About the Author:

Jeremy Biberdorf is the founder of Modest Money. He's a father of 2 beautiful girls, a dog owner, a long-time online entrepreneur and an investing enthusiast.

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