The “VIX,” or our market’s “fear gauge,” is on the rise again as stock markets take a dive on renewed global volatility. If volatility continues it may be an indicator that equities could head further south, and VIX-related exchange traded funds (ETFs) can be a hedge strategy that is now available for the average investor.
The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX) took a reactionary surge to the S&P 500’s decline, report Jeff Kearns and Nikolaj Gammeltoff for Bloomberg. The VIX is up 8.2% to 21.88, which is above the 20 point level where investors discern bearish from bullish sentiment, which also gauges investors’ fear about the future. [VIX ETF and ETN Options for Volatile Markets.]
VIX options trades have recently surged 1.7 times the four-week average and 2.3 times the level for puts. Options strategists at Susquehanna Financial Group LLP believe that “investors appear to be positioning for a significant increase in volatility.”
The number of VIX products has exploded in recent years. The two ETF options track mid- and short-term VIX futures: ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures (NYSEArca: VIXY), which is up 19% in the last month, and ProShares VIX Mid-Term Futures (NYSEArca: VIXM), which is up 13.2% in the last month.
Before the ETFs hit the scene, however, there were a number of ETNs through which investors could get their exposure, including iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEArca: VXX), iPath S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures ETN (NYSEArca: VXZ), VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short-Term ETN (NYSEArca:XIV), VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Medium-Term ETN(NYSEArca: ZIV) and UBS E-TRACS Daily Long-Short VIX ETN (XVIX).