ETF's That Let You Trade the Volatility Index "VIX"

Matt Thalman - Contributor - ETFs

One of the many great side effects to the rise in popularity of Exchange Traded Funds, ETF's, is that they have increased the types of investments individuals can buy into. The average investor can now easy buy and sell funds that hold actual commodities, indexes, bond portfolios, and even dabble in the options markets without ever making a signal put or call trade themselves.

Today, I would like to point out how investors can use ETF's to play the S&P 500 Volatility Index or VIX.

But, before we get into the ETF's that allow you to profit from the VIX's moves, let take a look at the VIX itself and what causes it to move in one direction or the other. The VIX is calculated using option pricing. It looks at the price of the call and put options because we know that higher option prices mean that investors believe there is a greater chance of volatility. Without getting into too much detail about options, the reason this works is because if an underlying security has high volatility it can make an option more or less valuable depending on what side of the trade you are on. Because the level of volatility will change the likelihood, the option will expire in or out of the money.

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