Introducing a Scale of Market Shocks

Olsen & Associates Working Paper No. 322

25 Pages Posted: 3 May 1999

See all articles by Gilles O. Zumbach

Gilles O. Zumbach

Edgelab; Consulting in Financial Engineering

Michel M. Dacorogna


Jorgen L. Olsen

Olsen & Associates

Richard B. Olsen

Lykke Corp

Date Written: March 23, 1999


We introduce two "event" scales for financial markets, called "scale of market shocks" (SMS), which measure the importance of the market movements. These indices are based on the price volatility and are computed by integrating mapped asset volatilities over time horizons that range from 1 hour to 42 days. The first SMS is an absolute scale, or universal scale, allowing values of different assets to be compared directly. The second SMS is an adaptive scale, calibrated to the typical behavior of each asset, allowing the relative importance of market movements to be assessed. In principle, the SMS can be constructed for any market: the indices are computed from the price time series. In the foreign exchange (FX) market, each index is associated with a currency pair and we derive from it an index per currency and an index for the whole market. In order to define the most appropriate SMS, the probability distribution for the volatilities is studied first. Then, the probability distribution of the two scales is computed. For USD/DEM and USD/JPY, the relations between peaks for the SMS and major "world events" is put forward. In addition, we also measure the correlation between the Scale of Market Shocks index and the size of the next price movements, which shows a high correlation for short time intervals.

JEL Classification: G14, G15, C43, C53

Suggested Citation

Zumbach, Gilles and Dacorogna, Michel M. and Olsen, Jorgen L. and Olsen, Richard B., Introducing a Scale of Market Shocks (March 23, 1999). Olsen & Associates Working Paper No. 322, Available at SSRN: or

Gilles Zumbach (Contact Author)

Edgelab ( email )

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Consulting in Financial Engineering ( email )

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Michel M. Dacorogna

DEAR-Consulting ( email )

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Jorgen L. Olsen

Olsen & Associates ( email )

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Richard B. Olsen

Lykke Corp ( email )

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41793368950 (Phone)


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