How to go long on the VIX index

Unlike the S&P 500 or Dow Jones Industrial Index, there’s no way to directly invest in the CBOE’s VIX® index.  Some really smart people have tried to figure out a way, but there’s just no way to do it directly with something like a VIX index fund.  Instead, you have to invest in a security that attempts to track VIX.  None of them do a great …

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Getting the correct greeks for VIX options

Many software packages that report option Greeks (e.g., delta, gamma, theta, implied volatility) report incorrect values for VIX options (LIVEVOL and Barchart (free subscription) are notable exception). Depending on the date and state of the market they can vary from almost correct to widely wrong–giving truly nonsense numbers.  These packages assume that the VIX index is the underlying for the VIX options.  This is wrong.  The best underlying to use is the corresponding VIX future for that month (e.g., January VIX futures for January VIX options).  Fidelity and Ameritrade get partial credit because they don’t use the VIX as the underlying, but they don’t appear to use the best VIX futures quote for their underlying.

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Thirteen Things You Should Know About Trading VIX options

If you want to trade options on fear I’ve listed some things below that you should know.  If you are interested in other volatility investments besides options see “10 Top Questions About Volatility“.  Regarding VIX options: Your brokerage account needs to be a margin account, and you need to sign up for options trading.   There are various levels of option trading available (e.g., the …

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FAQ on VIX, the “Fear Index”

Why do they call the VIX Index the “Fear Index” or “Fear Gauge” Because the VIX almost always goes up when the market goes down. The scarier the decline the higher the VIX tends to go. In the worst part of the 2008/2009 bear market it went as high as 80. In strong bull markets it historically bounces between 10 and 15. How can I …

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VIX quotes, options chains, and correct greeks for VIX options

You can get free delayed VIX option quotes at freerealtime.com or Yahoo Finance using the ^VIX symbol.  Go to here for options calenders giving the correct expiration dates (always last trading on a Tuesday, expiration on a Wednesday morning) Schwab uses $VIX as the ticker symbol, Fidelity uses VIX, Yahoo uses ^VIX. VIX Settlement values (the price used to evaluate loss/gain at expiration) use symbol VRO …

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