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If you want to trade an equity that reflects changes in VIX, what is a good proxy for it?

  • How do you mean proxy here. So if the VIX goes down, i.e. less volatile, you stock should therefor also go down? – sdg Jan 25 '12 at 18:54
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    The VIX has options you can trade. But there's no equity that I know of representing the vix itself. – robotcookies Jan 25 '12 at 19:37
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There is no good proxy for VIX, because it is a completely made-up value.

Most listed options trade on an underlying security. I can therefore choose to buy either the stock, or a future or option on that stock. In this way, the future and option are derivatives in that they derive their value (in part) based on something else, in this case the stock price as of now.

VIX is a different entity altogether. It is based on the volatility of the market, using "market expectation of near term volatility conveyed by stock index option prices". But the FAQ goes on to state that they are adding factors into the formula.

So right away there is no one equity/stock that you can hold that will necessarily match the VIX in any significant way, because it is not directly based on stocks, but indirectly through other options and computations.

In effect, therefore, the VIX in indeed only available through its options, and is not observable (tradable) in and of itself.

  • Well you could always try to replicate the conditions that calculate the VIX, such as writing PUTs on an index if you expect decreasing volatility, and buying them if you expect increased volatility, but of course you aren't going to track it exactly. – Michael Jan 30 '15 at 19:36
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I'd look at VXX, I believe it closely tracks what you are looking to do.

http://www.ipathetn.com/product/VXX/

However, as already noted in other responses, this isn't trading VIX itself (in fact it is impossible to do so). Instead, this ETF gives exposure to short-term SP500 futures contracts, which in theory should be very correlated to market volatility.

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    +1. In addition, here is a link to a discussion on quant.SE about attempting to synthetically replicate the VIX spot index. – Jason R Feb 23 '12 at 4:30
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If you want to trade to gain from short-term volatility, you can use Derivative-based ETFs that try to track the inverse of a broad index like the S&P 500. Note that these ETFs only track the index over a 1 day period, so you shouldn't hold these.

If you're looking for a longer-term investment strategy, look at low-beta stocks, which often do well or produce dividend income during volatile times. Examples include McDonald's Corp and utilities like Consolidated Edison.

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VXX VZX XVIZ and there are plenty others correlated to market volatility

if you want the wildest hedge, use VXX, it is also the most liquid

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