We only have data going back to the 2007 – 2008 period for the non-VIX SPX related indexes on the diagram below. VXST, VXV, and VXMT all made all-time lows, based on the history we have to work with, on the close Friday. VIX closing at 9.51 was the third lowest on record. However, the two instances of lower closing prices for VIX occurred on December 22nd and 23rd of 1993 (9.38 and 9.41). In December 1993, the 24th was a market holiday as Christmas fell on the 25th. Also, options expiring on January 21, 1994 dominated the VIX calculation as there was just under 30 days left until that expiration. There were three market holidays between the days where VIX closed lower that this past Friday and the third Friday of January. We know holidays take a little bit out of VIX, we see it every December and often before three-day weekends. Since there are no holidays between now and the two option series feeding into VIX (August 11th and August 18th) I’m going to say the VIX closing price on Friday counts as an all-time low, with an asterisk followed by the previous explanation.
The week was tough for long funds and good for short funds. VMIN continues to have a great 2017 and added over 11% to that year. VSTOXX is low which contributed to over a 9% move in the upstart EXIV ETN. Finally, TYVIX is testing all-time lows at 3.75.
SVXY is on path for an easy double in 2017 as long as we don’t get a catastrophic market event in the next few months while VXX and UVXY performance continues to languish. As a quick reminder, UVXY is set for a reverse split this coming week.
The table below shows how volatility is under pressure across the board. VXIBM and VXAZN moving up are both a function of a pending earnings announcement. GVZ snuck in an all-time low in late June, which I missed, and at 11.11 is amazingly low when you read about geopolitical issues.
As the trading week had about an hour left and VXX was trading at 12.01 someone came into the VIX Pit (VXX options trade there too) with a bullish VXX trade that has a pretty interesting time-frame. The trader sold the VXX Sep 1st 14 Puts for 2.54 and bought the VXX Sep 1st 12.50 Puts for 1.34 and a net credit of 1.20. The risk for this trade is 0.30 if VXX is at or below 12.50 on the close September 1st. Basically, for this trade to make money we need a volatility event (or two) that pushes VXX up to around the short strike prices of 14.00. The payout diagram below shows the payoff at expiration, but also includes a half way to expiration line since I believe our put spread seller would be inclined to take profits on any sort of volatility spike.