The VIX index fluctuated during the coronavirus crisis to levels that had not been since the financial crisis of 2008. This resulted in a number of ETFs and ETNs that track the VIX index to jump wildly in price. Some of these indexes were leveraged, resulting in even sharper fluctuations and providing riskier opportunities for profits and losses.
During March 2020, the VIX index — which charts the 30-day implied volatility of the S&P 500 based on index options — went above $82, an all time-record that exceeded the $80.86 recorded in late 2008. In the days that have followed however the index dipped reaching a level of 56.14 one month later.
Despite the recent dip, for those searching for volatility, the index has generated many opportunities during the coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN [VXX] — designed to offer exposure to VIX futures contracts — rose by 391% from the 20th February to the 18th March, before dropping again.
For those interested in volatility trading with a higher appetite for risk and who want even greater exposure to the index, the ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures [UVXY] grew by more than 880% over the same three-week period. This ETF provides leveraged exposure to the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index.
Furthermore, since the start of the year, the VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short-Term ETN [TVIX] — which provides a two-times leveraged exposure to an index comprised of first- and second-month VIX futures positions — has climbed 664% since the start of the year, according to Reuters, peaking at the 806 level on the 18th March, up 1712% YTD at that point.