Volatility Is Back in Town and It’s Angry

The weekly Market Update is posted at Alpha Baskets is posted an includes the following;

The CBOE Volatility Index took center stage last week with very dramatic action Monday and Tuesday. Monday, the VIX jumped over 100%, bringing an end to the one way nature of the short volatility trade. VIX had been going down for so long that a couple of the exchanged traded products became very popular for their massive gains. You may have heard the story of a Target employee to turned his life savings into a $13 million fortune by shorting the VIX via one of the ETPs. On Monday the VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short Term ETN, one of the two big ETPs had an event acceleration, effectively terminating the product. Per the prospectus, a single day rise in VIX of 80% would allow the issuer to cancel the product, which they are choosing to do. There were other funds to similarly blow up and there were estimates floating around of several trillion dollars in various short volatility trades that all blew up at once and that amount was enough, some say, to contribute to the decline in equities.

And from my page at TheMaven, the WSJ tried to blame risk parity for the recent decline and while I don’t want to allocate to risk parity I think there are some things to learn from it.

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