The New Way to Track VIX ETFs

There's now an easy way to compare and track CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) exchange-traded funds

by Adam Warner

Published on Jan 28, 2016 at 7:45 AM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Having trouble keeping track of all those CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) exchange-traded funds (ETF)? Want to see how they act vs. each other, vs. stock indices, et al? Well, you're in luck. Eli Mintz of VIXCentral fame has introduced this:

"This is a new tool I developed which basically allows you to conveniently view many Yahoo charts together. You can change the period, size etc. and of course add your own tickers and create your own views."

Here's a screenshot of what Eli's talking about:

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I went with the one-month view here, but it's flexible to different time frames. As he notes, you can also add different tickers, change the chart, add studies, et al. If you click on the chart, you load the Yahoo Finance page for the ticker.

For posting purposes, I tend to just load the data myself into spreadsheets so I have the flexibility to run things like correlations, line estimates, scatter plots, et al. For informational purposes, this is terrific. Looking at all these charts highlighted something for me. It's truly (relative) boom times for iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) and all its offshoots. Five months of non-disastrous volatility will tend to do that I suppose. Here's the VIX/VXX/ProShares Trust Ultra VIX Short Term Futures ETF (UVXY) look:

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UVXY is double VXX, so thus gets hit both by the contango effect that hits VXX itself and the compounding effect that hits all trackers. Yet it's had a half-year of fantastic action. Well, part of it is that VIX futures aren't in contango now. VXX theoretically lifts over time in that setup. In backwardation, a VIX future gains some value each nanosecond that goes by.

And part of that is that while churn will eat up a tracker, compounding helps in a directional move. I still would never hold something like UVXY for anything but really short term. But it's interesting to see that it actually can have a sustained stretch of non-disaster.

Disclaimer: Mr. Warner's opinions expressed above do not necessarily represent the views of Schaeffer's Investment Research


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