Last week, the short volatility trade, previously beloved among market participants, unraveled in significant fashion, forcing the termination of one popular bearish volatility exchange traded note (ETN), the VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short-Term ETN (NASDAQ: XIV).
The ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (NYSEArca: SVXY) was not immune from the controversy, but SVXY, unlike XIV, is still open for business and some traders are flocking to the ProShares product.
“The ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures fund, which lost more than 80 percent of its value on Feb. 6, took in the most cash on record last week,” reports Bloomberg. “The product, which goes by the ticker SVXY, was the fifth-most popular exchange-traded fund in the U.S., absorbing more than $500 million, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That made it more attractive than small caps, utilities or even Treasuries.”
“SVXY provides short exposure to the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index, which measures the returns of a portfolio of monthly VIX futures contracts with a weighted average of one month to expiration,” according to ProShares, the largest issuer of inverse and leveraged ETFs,
Although volatility surged on Feb. 6th, causing some controversy around products such as SVXY and XIV, SVXY behaved as expected. SVXY’s action on Feb. 6th, including after-hours trade, “was consistent with its objective and reflected the changes in the level of its underlying index. We expect the fund to be open for trading today and we intend to continue to manage the fund as usual,” according to a statement from ProShares.
“Perhaps investors are looking to buy the dip. Funds that bet on market calm are certainly in a gully after volatility spiked to its highest level since 2015. But while at least two exchange-traded products that use the strategy imploded, SVXY weathered the storm,” according to Bloomberg.
The VIX, or so-called fear index, is a widely observed indicator for investor sentiment in the stock market and measures the expected or implied volatility of large-cap stock options traded on the S&P 500 index. ETPs that track VIX futures allow investors to profit during rising volatility or hedge against short-term turns. VIX exchange traded products track the VIX futures market, not the VIX spot price.
For more information on the CBOE Volatility Index, visit our VIX category.