Category Archives: Education

The Other Side of VIX

The last three months saw the VIX spot dropped quickly from 30-ish to 10-ish. No wonder XIV, the inverse ETN to the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index, was among the top performing ETPs in January. Its return was 30.88% in January 2012 and 14.02% in December 2011. S&P Indices General Disclaimer XIV collects daily […]

VEQTOR & Other Volatility Reduction Indices

Today I’m going to discuss three prepacked investment solutions that seek positive exposure to the equity market with different volatility reduction approaches: S&P 500 Low Volatility Index: uses stock selection and alternative weighting to minimize portfolio volatility without the use of derivatives or active hedge. PowerShares has issued an ETF (ticker SPLV) that tracks this […]

Ask The Institute: 01/27/12

Watch this video to gain insight on how VIX expiration dates are determined and why they vary from month to month.  Hosted by Michelle Kaufman.

Why Are There Different Prices for VIX® Spot and VIX Futures?

Investors often inquire as to why the prices and the price movements for the VIX (spot) Index and the VIX tradable instruments (futures, options, and ETPs) often are different. For example, yesterday (Tuesday, January 17th) the VIX spot closed at 22.20 and the VIX March futures closed at 25.55 (delayed price quotes are available at […]

VIX ETPs Demystified – December 2011

Just like most humans (monozygotic twins excluded) are not created equals, most VIX futures based exchange-traded products (ETPs) are not equal (At the time of writing this post, there were 43 primary listed ETPs). While there are a number of distinctions and I will attempt to highlight the key areas, but first the few common […]

An Introduction to VIX

Volatility has emerged as an important asset class in its own right over the past decade. Book-ended by two equity bear markets, the past decade (2000 – 2010) saw heightened financial stresses and large losses in investment portfolios. The investment community’s need for tools and instruments to protect downside risks had never been more acutely […]

Diversification Properties of VIX Futures Indices

As in the VIX index spot, the S&P 500 VIX Futures Index Series and the S&P 500 tend to move in opposite directions or.  As shown in Exhibit 1, while the correlation between the spot VIX and the futures index series is not perfect, it is a healthy 89% for the short-term index and 80% […]

Volatility Benchmarks in Europe

In Europe, regional volatility indices have been developed and published to measure the implied volatility in local markets. VSTOXX, VDAX-NEW, VFTSE follow the CBOE VIX methodology and have become the investor fear gauge in the Europe, German and UK markets. Exhibit 1 shows that these indices are highly correlated. Since Jan. 2000, VSTOXX have been […]

Contango and Roll Cost

  Although VIX spot is generally mean reverting, the S&P 500 VIX Futures indices are return generating time series that trend down for the majority of their history. This downward trend is particularly obvious in the Short Term index. This is because the price received from the sale of the shorter term contract is generally less than […]

VIX futures indices only track a fraction of VIX spot return

It has been widely observed that the S&P 500 VIX Short Term and Mid Term Futures indices track only a fraction of the VIX spot return. For example, on 8/8/2011, in response to the US Teasuries downgrade, the S&P 500 fell 6.88%, the biggest drop in 2011 (fingers crossed!). On the same day. VIX spot […]

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