In the rush to capitalize on the sudden volatility in the markets, many have jumped in to buy VIX calls not fully realizing what they were getting in to. Adam Warner summarizes Barron’s take on some of the shortcomings of VIX options as an investment vehicle and reiterates his own perspective, which is essentially that the more sensible and direct play is SPY options. For the record, I am in agreement here and have stated some other reasons why VIX options may not be appropriate for all by the most experienced options traders.
Here is another way to play volatility without even resorting to options or ETFs: the exchanges. CME just reported record options volume in February and will likely continue to be a beneficiary as concerns about increased risk and volatility create new demand for derivatives to reduce risk and volatility going forward. This morning, CME is down more than 50 points from the January high of 596.
Another options exchange play is ISE. This smaller electronic options exchange had a strong February, but has more question marks than its larger rivals. ISE is down about 12% since February 23rd and may be an attractive takeover target.