VIX ETFs Gain Momentum on Fears of Bigger Market Retreat

Interest rate concerns are triggering risk-off sentiment in the equities market and fueling bets on the CBOE Volatility Index, along with VIX-related exchange traded products.

On Friday, the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (NYSEArca: VXX) rose 10.2%, ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (NYSEArca: VIXY) gained 10.3%, VelocityShares Daily Long VIX Short-Term ETN (NYSEArca: VIIX) increased 10.0% and REX VolMAXX Long VIX Weekly Futures Strategy ETF (BATS: VMAX) advanced 10.8%. Meanwhile, the VIX jumped 14.9% to 15.5, its highest level since August.

Robust U.S. jobs data pushed bond yields higher and added to rising speculation of more interest rate hikes this year. The Labor Department revealed that nonfarm payrolls increased by 200,000 in January, compared to expectations of 180,000 new additions, while average hourly earnings rose and boosted the year-over-year increase to 2.9%, its largest increase since June 2009, Reuters reports.

In response to the improved employment numbers, yields on benchmark 10-year Treasury bonds rose to 2.84% mid-Friday as traders increased bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise rates at least three times this year to fight the rising inflationary outlook.