The CBOE Volatility Index and ETFs tracking VIX futures contracts have been horrible performers with some exchange traded products recently hitting all-time lows. Nevertheless, the VIX is perking up and some investors seem to looking for a hedge against a potential summer swoon.
The iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEArca: VXX) gained 3.4% midday Monday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Averaged traded 0.3% higher and the S&P 500 Index was 0.1% lower. VXX, though, has declined 77% over the past year. The ETF is also now above its 50-day simple moving average.
The volatility index began climbing due to uncertainty over the eventual Fed “tapering” on quantitative easing.
“The markets are clearly reacting to worries the Federal Reserve may slow its bond buying program, which could lead to higher interest rates,” Randy Frederick, Managing Director of Active Trading & Derivatives at the Charles Schwab Center for Financial Research, said in a research note. “While this will take time to play out, the market is forward-looking and this issue may very well create more volatility in the near-term.”
“Equity option market sentiment has turned from bullish to cautious, with VIX, skew, vol-of-vol (volatility of volatility), and correlations all experiencing notable gains over the past two weeks,” Mandy Xu, equity derivatives strategist at Credit Suisse, said in a Reuters article.
On Monday, the VIX gained 4.5%, trading above 17.
“Keep an eye on the VIX this week – one of the market’s key gauges of uncertainty,” Frederick added. “Despite a slight increase in the VIX over the past 2 weeks, it has not been moving nearly as much as it has historically, given the size of the intraday and day-to-day swings we’ve experienced in the S&P 500.”
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN
For more information on the CBOE Volatility Index, visit our VIX category.
Max Chen contributed to this article.