Goodbye VXXB, We Hardly Knew Ye

Effective May 2nd, VXXB and VXZB, Barclays’ short- and medium-term volatility funds will be renamed to VXX and VXZ.  This is a market maneuver by Barclays to recapture the brand value of the original, very successful, VXX and moderately successful VXZ products introduced in 2009.  The original products matured in January 2019 so Barclays had to create VXXB and VXZB as replacement products. However, there’s …

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Goodbye VXX, Hello VXXB

Update 2-May-2019 As Eli Mintz of VIX Central predicted, Barclays changed the tickers for VXXB and VXZB back to VXX and VXZ. This change is effective 2-May-2019. As I note below in the post, Barclays has done this sort of thing before to preserve the branding of a popular product. I doubt the ticker changes will fix one thing that Barclays lost with the VXX-VXXB …

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Is Shorting UVXY or VXX the Perfect Trade?

Long term charts of VXX or UVXY suggest they are perfect candidates for shorting but there are risks you should be aware of and alternatives to consider.

The charts for long volatility Exchange Traded Products (ETP) like Barclays’s VXX and ProShares’ 1.5X levered UVXY are astonishing.

I’m not aware of any other widely available securities that have declined like these.

Two questions come to mind:

  1. Why would anyone invest in these perennial losers?
  2. Why doesn’t everyone on the planet short these funds?

It turns out that there are reasonable reasons to buy these funds, and some people make money doing it. And a lot of people short these funds; it’s a crowded trade—to the point where it’s sometimes not possible to borrow the shares to short them.

It’s not easy money either way.

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How Does VXX’s Daily Roll Work?

All volatility Exchange Traded Products (ETPs) use indexes that track a mix of two or more months of the CBOE’s VIX Futures.  Calculating this mix is not trivial and has resulted in a lot of bleary eyes—including my own.  My intent with this post is to help you understand, and if you desire to accurately compute the key indexes used in VXX and other short …

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Backtests for Popular Long & Short Volatility Exchange Traded Products

I have generated the end of day trading day values for the most  popular long and short volatility Exchange Traded Products (ETPs) for March 26th, 2004 through the end of the most recent quarter.  See this table for specifics. +1.5X UVXY  ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (includes old 2X simulation) VXX     Barclays S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN VXZ     Barclays S&P …

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