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The volatility in the indices long ago was similar in magnitude to what it is today. The problem you are seeing in your plots is one of compounding and scaling. Think of it this way- back in the mid 70's the magnitude of NASDAQ pricing was around \$100. Today it is on the order of \$4000, a change of 40x. In linear terms, a 1% change in the index today ...


2

To construct best bid/ask from ITCH you must build a book incrementally from the messages in the data. Every message, except for system oriented messages, and non-displayed Trades, represent an order or an action on an order. Process the data, build a book, and you will naturally be left with the best bid/ask at the top of each side.


1

Always use a semi-logarithmic scale when looking at prices. It makes percentage moves of equal heights on your graphs.



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