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Tools based on volatility indexes are widely used for hedging, diversification, risk management, and alpha generation, but investors should carefully study the pricing, risks, and other key aspects before deciding to use such products.


The VIX Index and Volatility-Based Global Indexes and Trading Instruments: A Guide to Investment and Trading Features

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Overview

During the past two decades, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX® Index), a key measure of investor sentiment and 30-day future volatility expectations, has generated much investor attention because of its unique and powerful features. The introduction of VIX futures in 2004, VIX options in 2006, and other volatility-related trading instruments provided traders and investors access to exchange-traded vehicles for taking long and short exposures to expected S&P 500 Index volatility for a particular time frame. Certain VIX-related tradable products may provide benefits when used as tools for tail-risk hedging, diversification, risk management, or alpha generation. Gauges of expected stock market volatility for various regions include the VIX Index (United States), AXVI Index (Australia), VHSI Index (Hong Kong), NVIX Index (India) and VSTOXX Index (Europe). All five of these volatility indexes had negative correlations with their related stock indexes price movements, and all five volatility indexes rose more than 50% in 2008. Although the five volatility indexes are not investable, investors can explore VIX-based benchmark indexes that show the performance of hypothetical investment strategies using VIX futures or options. Before investing in volatility-related products, investors should closely study the pricing, roll cost, and volatility features of the tradable products and read the applicable prospectuses and risk disclosure statements.

About the Author(s)

Matthew T. Moran

Matthew T. Moran is head of Global Benchmark Indexes Advancement at Cboe Global Markets, Chicago.

Berlinda Liu

Berlinda Liu is director of Global Research & Design at S&P Dow Jones Indices, New York City.

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