The latest spell of higher stock market volatility is on the mind of many professional and retail investors. Up until this latest outburst, volatility as measured by the S&P 500 Volatility Index or “VIX” had crashed 36%.
While stock market volatility is often portrayed as an evil force that people should strive to avoid, it can and should be used to an investor’s advantage.
Let’s consider three lessons for successfully dealing with and even capitalizing on higher volatility.
Lesson 1: Volatility Isn’t Necessarily a Foe
One way to benefit from higher stock market volatility is to invest alongside of it. Although it’s impossible to invest directly in volatility gauges like the VIX, there are plenty of choices like VIX call options and ETPs. Let’s look at an example.
Unfortunately, this trade on stock market volatility turned out to be dead money over the next few months because volatility sank like a rock. At one point, the VIXY position recommended had unrealized losses of 35%, ouch!
However, the recent 100% plus surge in stock market volatility caused VIXY’s share price to skyrocket and per the newsletter, a trade alert was given to sell VIXY at $19.63 on September 1 for a 23% gain. What’s the lesson?
First, investing in volatility isn’t for the faint of heart and second, good trades can sometimes start out poorly. However, in the proper context of a complimentary role to a much larger fully diversified core portfolio, embracing volatility rather than avoiding it certainly has a place.
Lesson 2: Volatility Leads to Discrepancies