With All The Market Volatility⎯Why Not Try To Profit?

With All The Market Volatility⎯Why Not Try To Profit?

Posted On June 20, 2023 9:52 am

After nearly two years of a bear market, unprecedented interest rate hikes, and general macro- uncertainty, which unnerved investors and led to volatile trading, things have finally calmed down over the past few weeks.

Over the past month, the Chicago Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), dropped from 22 to 13; one of the steepest slides in two years and its lowest level since prior to February of 2020. This suggests investors expect relatively smooth sailing for the foreseeable future.

However, it might be premature to become complacent or overly optimistic. This week there are several events which might unnerve investors and induce a renewed round of market volatility.

Items on the calendar this week include key economics data such a the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI), retail sales data, and the all-important Federal Open Market Committee Meeting (FOMC), in which Chairman Powell will reveal the Fed’s planned path for interest rate policy.

With the VIX at a multi-year low, it might make sense to look at some volatility-based ETFs that would benefit from either a sell-off or simply an increase in price swings and market volatility.

Before getting to a few of the ETFs we can employ, there are a few things we need to understand about VIX-based products.

The VIX itself cannot be traded. It is simply an index which is calculated based on the implied volatility of a mix of the S&P 500 Index options. These products are linked to volatility futures. They own or short futures based on the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX). The VIX index portrays the price volatility embedded in the option prices of the S&P 500 Index for the next 30 days.

Investors need to understand that these funds track the futures on the VIX and not VIX itself. Because of the nature of the VIX futures markets, the rolling cost of futures may be detrimental to performance results. Thus, these products may lose money over the long term. Investors need to approach these products with care.

The ProShares Ultra-Short Term Volatility ETF (UVXY) is one of the more popular ways to play the VIX index as investors can bet on…

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About author

Steve Smith

Steve Smith have been involved in all facets of the investment industry in a variety of roles ranging from speculator, educator, manager and advisor. This has taken him from the trading floors of Chicago to hedge funds on Wall Street to the world online. From 1987 to 1996, he served as a market maker at the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE) and Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). From 1997 to 2007, he was a Senior Columnist and Managing Editor for TheStreet.com, handling their Option Alert and Short Report newsletters. The Option Alert was awarded the MIN “best business newsletter” in 2006. From 2009 to 2013, Smith was a Senior Columnist and Managing Editor for Minyanville’s OptionSmith newsletter, as well as a Risk Manager Consultant for New Vernon Capital LLC. Smith acted as an advisor to build models and option strategies to reduce portfolio exposure and enhance returns for the four main funds. Since 2015, he has worked for Adam Mesh Trading Group. There, he has managed Options360 and Earning 360, been co-leader of Option Academy, and contributed to The Option Specialist website.