move more reliably opposite to the market
Empirically, volatility tends to spike when asset prices first start to plummet, and this tends to happen very quickly, so that up and down motions after the initial plunge don't affect it as much.
Of course VIX doesn't really do anything but
measure ups and downs, but what I mean is that gradual movements up or down will tend to have less mini up-and-downs to drive volatility the farther removed you get from the initial plummet--if that makes any sense, but I think I may be guilty of some poor writing style here.]
On the flip side, when asset prices start rising, historically/empirically volatility tends to return downward to normal levels only very gradually, again not tracking too closely the ups and downs of that process.
In general, I would say that VIX is most effective as a tool to hedge risk for institutions that are already invested in various kinds of derivatives, whereas 1x/2x/3x short funds are more effective for people who either want to (A) hedge against ordinary long positions in stocks, or (B) simply make a directional speculative investment on the belief that the market will soon go down. EDIT2:
But this is correct too...
From what I understood it seems more like portfolio insurance where you can keep 5% of your portfolio, sell on a big drop, profit and go long again.....is this a wrong way to look at it?
VIX can also work as portfolio insurance for an average investor, and now that I think about it, can probably work even better than short ETFs that try to track inverse movements all the time.
As long as you keep in mind that going long VIX tends to be very expensive after it already spikes, it's not a bad thing to hold. Additionally, VIX might start to spike before the asset cliff drop actually occurs, so you might be able to reap the benefits of the VIX insurance while simultaneously getting out of your long stock positions at the same time.
Interesting stuff to think about.
This post was edited on 3/6 at 3:01 am