ProShares today launched two new exchange traded funds (ETFs) that track futures on the CBOE Market Volatility Index, more popularly known as the VIX. The move marks the first time that ETFs tied to the market’s “fear index” will trade in the United States.
The VIX measures the 30-day volatility of an index of large-cap stocks. In short, it’s a calculation based on how volatile investors believe the markets will be in the coming 30 days. The S&P 500 and the VIX have a negative correlation: when the VIX is rising, the S&P generally declines; when the VIX is declining, the S&P generally rises.
As a result of the recent volatility seen in the markets, investors are more interested than ever in hedging such volatility. ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures (NYSEArca: VIXY) will track a basket of two near-term VIX futures; ProShares VIX Mid-Term Futures (NYSEArca: VIXM) will track a basket of mid-term futures.
The new funds won’t have the credit risk of ETNs, which are unsecured debt securities that depend on a single company’s ability to pay up. Both funds will charge 0.85%.