Shorting The (VXX) ETN and Long (XXV) or (XIV)

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January 6, 2011 6:06pm NYSE:VXX NYSE:XIV

If you are interested in the VIX and related options and futures products, 2010 saw the arrival of an excellent new blog which is all over that space: Volatility Futures & Options.


The content is of such consistently high quality that I have made a mental note to feature some of it here from time to time and today seems like a good day to kick things off. The reason for my enthusiasm is a post from this morning called Case Solved: No Arbitrage, which follows a previous post on the subject: VXX-XXV Arbitrage?

I have probably received hundreds of questions and comments related to the advisability of shorting the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSE:VXX) and some of the obstacles in being able to execute such a strategy successfully. With the arrival of iPath Inverse S&P 500 Vix S/T Fut ETN (NYSE:XXV), some investors thought that the inverse version of (VXX) might be a better way to accomplish the same goal. As it turns out, XXV has not performed as well as a short VXX position and Case Solved: No Arbitrage dives into the math and reverse engineers an excellent formula for calculating just how XXV performs relative to a short VXX position. I highly recommend clicking through to review the details.

Finally, I have noted on a number of occasions, including at some length in my subscriber newsletter, that the VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short-Term ETN (NYSE:XIV) is a better product for replicating a short VXX position than XXV. Investors have yet to arrive at the same conclusion as I have that 2011 will mark “the runaway success of VIX-based ETNs and ETFs, notably the recently launched XIV, which will prove that volatility vehicles can be good buy-and-hold investments,” but I am standing by my prediction and watching with interest to see how long it takes for money to start flowing into XIV.

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Written By Bill Luby From The VIX and More   Bill is a private investor who also authors the VIX and More (http://vixandmore.blogspot.com/) blog and an investment newsletter from just north of San Francisco. His research and trading interests focus on volatility, market sentiment, technical analysis, and ETFs. Prior to becoming a full-time investor, Bill was a business strategy consultant for two decades and advised clients across a broad range of industries on issues such as strategy formulation, strategy implementation, and metrics. When not trading or blogging, he can often be found running, hiking, and kayaking in Northern California. Bill has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from Carnegie-Mellon University.

Disclosure(s): short VXX and long XIV at time of writing

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