Friday, February 25, 2011

The VIX Calls Trade

I mentioned early in January that normal hedging procedures were causing a major detriment, as the non stop melt up wrecked havoc on a portfolio which was not "100% long and strong".  Instead I offered the a strategy employing VIX calls - buying some call options out 4 months (minimum) and then using that as portfolio insurance.  For example, I mentioned the trade Jan 7th around 17 (you could have averaged down later that day into the mid 16s), and when the Egypt fiasco broke out at the end of January, I said to take 1/3rd off the table in the 19s on that Friday spike down in the market.  Then when VIX fell back into sleepy time under 17 you could rebuy those VIX calls (this time moving out to at least May so time decay does not hit you).

My ultimate goal was "something in the 20s" which took almost 2 months to happen, but finally struck this past week - one could have sold the last 2/3rds of the original January position (in 2 pieces) first on the huge volatility spike Tuesday (I think VIX was up near 30%) and then the last 1/3rd Wednesday.  That would have left you only with the "replacement" VIX calls (in this case May) that you bought post Egypt, with the entire original position bought Jan 7th sold for very nice profits.

I am not mentioning trades day by day anymore, but if you wanted to be more aggressive the VIX has been an excellent range bound trade that I would have definitely been playing on the side as well, aside from the major trade above.  Buying $16.50 and below and selling "near $18" would have yielded multiple winners as the VIX seems to have a floor near 15/16.  And in this specific case since VIX was nowhere near 18 when the Libya situation broke out, you would have extra gains from not just the main VIX trade, but this shorter term batch of VIX calls as well.

I'd continue this strategy until it stops working...

No position

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