The CBOE Volatility Index or VIX, known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, was up about 10% on Friday afternoon as stocks pulled back on the latest Greece worries.
In the past few sessions, we have observed the VIX creeping higher even though equity indices are also registering new recent highs.
The VIX rose above 20 after closing at 18.63 yesterday and trading as low as 16.10 last Friday.
We noted just last weekend in our weekly recap that “long” VIX exchange traded products such as VelocityShares Daily 2X VIX Short Term ETN (NYSEArca: TVIX) have seen incredible trading volumes recently, and on that note, asset inflows into TVIX most notably late last week and early this week have also been considerable (about 15% of the assets outstanding in the fund have flowed in recently).
Similarly, we started to see call buyers in VIX options late last week as well as earlier this week. This, coupled with the fact that short interest in VIX futures is at its highest levels since 2007, has likely attracted some contrarians to the recent equity rally, whom are taking the “other side” and purchasing “long” VIX products such as TVIX or iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (NYSEArca: VXX) as potential portfolio and volatility hedges and/or bearish speculators.