While Apple analysts obsess over iPhone sales and the number of new iTunes accounts as we await Tuesday's earnings, there's a less obvious indicator that could be the better predictor of where Apple shares will go. And right now, it appears to be flashing a serious buy signal.
That indicator is the Apple VIX, which measures the expected volatility in Apple shares by looking at the prices of options on Apple. The Apple VIX shows how much people are willing to pay to make bullish or bearish bets on Apple shares—bets that could either be speculative, or could hedge a position in the stock.
Based on the VIX, which indicates how much traders are willing to pay for "insurance" on the market by looking at the prices of options on the S&P 500, the Apple VIX uses the same methodology to look at the price of options on Apple.
So just as the VIX does, the Apple VIX "gives a gauge of fear," said Brian Stutland of Stutland Volatility Group. And its action this year has been very telling.