I’m starting a new feature on my blog that will show up in my side bar—The Volatility Landscape. In this space I will post alerts, news, predictions, volatility ETN/ETFs that I think should be avoided, links to white papers/ newsletters, my wish list of volatility items, and a link to my Volatility Tickers master list of all US listed volatility funds.
A few comments about the current contents of the Volatility Landscape. It’s located on the sidebar, under the custom search dialog.
- TVIX is still struggling with a persistent premium to its NAV value, which is often as high as 10%. ProShares’ UVXY is an equivalent ETF product that closely tracks its NAV.
- On the news front CBOE announced that it plans to offer futures on variance swaps. This white paper provides a nice tutorial on the differences between volatility and variance contracts.
- Also in the news Barclays’ announced that they will be offering two volatility ETNs to be listed on the Canadian Stock exchange. These are essentially the US listed VXX and XVZ ETN with a US dollar to Canadian dollar currency hedge thrown in. Unfortunately Barclays is listing the VXX equivalent with the ticker symbol of “VIX”, which I’m sure will go a long ways towards educating the Canadian investors that this ETN does not in fact track the CBOE’s VIX index, instead tracking a rolling index of short term VIX futures…
- On the predictions front, I predict that TVIX and VXX will do reverse splits in the next couple of months. I suppose it’s possible that TVIX will be allowed to sink well into single digits if its share creation issues are not resolved, but I doubt Barclays will allow VXX to trade in the single digits for long. The VXX prospectus calls out a 4:1 reverse split, so look for VXX back in the forties.
- Currently I think people should avoid XXV and TVIX. The problem with TVIX is its share creation problem. See the links in the Volatility Landscape for more details.
- I would like to see options offered on both XIV and VQT. With ProShare’s SVXY now having options there is at least an inverse volatility solution, but XIV has superior spreads and liquidity. With a market cap of over $300 million it seems like VQT is long overdue for optionability. What’s the problem here?
- The first white paper is an extensive discussion on volatility ETNs and VIX futures from the University of Reading. They cover the existing constant maturity funds, the dynamic funds like XVZ, and propose a class of funds that dynamically switches investments in the dynamic funds—where will it end? The next two, which I highly recommend are from Artemis Capital Management. The video on 20 years of volatility is very interesting. The lower stair step is the SPX, and the wave like curtain above it is the VIX, including its term structure.
Friday, May 4th, 2012 | Vance Harwood