Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chart of the Week: XIV Celebrates Six-Month Birthday

Yesterday marked six months since the launch of the VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short-Term ETN (XIV).

While XIV’s launch was received with little fanfare, I was a huge fan of this ETN right from the start. Less than one week after XIV was launched, I shared my thoughts about XIV in the Bespoke Investment Group’s second annual roundtable. When asked about some of my favorite picks for 2011 and beyond, I predicted:

“2011 will mark the rise of volatility as an asset class.  Part of the reason for this rise will be the runaway success of VIX-based ETNs and ETFs, notably the recently launched XIV, which will prove that volatility vehicles can be good buy-and-hold investments.”

During the course of its first six months of trading, XIV has managed to return 82% to anyone who was fortunate enough to buy some of this ETN when it launched. As shown in this week’s chart of the week below, XIV's ride has been a wild one and has included a pullback of about 33% in one month during all the turmoil associated with the Japanese earthquake + tsunami + nuclear meltdown.

Looking ahead, I am going to go out on another limb and say that 82% in six months was not a fluke. Sure XIV is an extremely volatile security that will experience sharp drawdowns on a regular basis, but for the patient investor who is able to steer clear of margin issues, XIV can be an excellent way to spice up one’s portfolio with stunning long-term returns.

That being said, just as shorting VXX is a strategy suited to only a small slice of the investment community, so is XIV not appropriate for everyone, in spite of the upside potential. For those who think they may be up to the task, I highly recommend a comprehensive risk management plan and a review of Managing Risk with a Short VXX Position, as well as some of the other links below.

Related posts:

[graphic: StockCharts.com] 

Disclosure(s): short VXX and long XIV at time of writing

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