In the May 2012 newsletter article "Volatility Futures: Relative Strength: A Family of Futures Products", we discussed various methods of trading volatility futures products as spreads or indicators, with some discussion of their basic characteristics.
This article will provide discussion of trading methods for individual volatility futures products. The CBOE Volatility Index® (VIX®) futures contract tends to be mean-reverting and trades within a range bound market.
Excluding the 2008 financial crisis, the VIX level tends to fluctuate between 40 and 10. For liquidity seeking traders, hedgers or managers, the chart below demonstrates the increasing volume and open interest in VIX futures, making it a viable choice for a liquid portfolio.
VIX futures trading volume recently reached a new high on three fronts:
1) In August 2012, the VIX futures average daily volume increased by 4.6% to 83,016 contracts versus August 2011 volume of 79,402 contracts.
2) The total volume year to date trading volume in VIX futures has increased by 59% to 13.7 million contracts versus January through August of 2011 volume of 8.6 million contracts.
3) On September 13, 2012 the VIX futures contract reached a new single-day volume record of 190,081 contracts traded. The previous record was 159,744 contracts traded on June 8, 2012.
In a range bound market, long term directional trading may not work as well as it would in other futures markets. Overbought and oversold indicators may have greater utility value. However in the shorter term (duration of days and weeks), directional trades may offer some value. Read more
Copyright ©2012 Mark Shore. Contact the author for permission for republication at firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Shore has more than 20 years of experience in the futures markets and managed futures, publishes research, consults on alternative investments and conducts educational workshops. www.shorecapmgmt.com
Mark Shore is also an Adjunct Professor at DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business in Chicago where he teaches a managed futures / global macro course and an Adjunct at the New York Institute of Finance. Mark is a contributing writer to Reuters HedgeWorld.
Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. There is risk of loss when investing in futures and options. Always review a complete CTA disclosure document before investing in any Managed Futures program. Managed futures can be a volatile and risky investment; only use appropriate risk capital; this investment is not for everyone. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and are only for educational purposes. Please talk to your financial advisor before making any investment decisions.