While traders of nothing but the Essenpee would find themselves sitting on a gain of 1.5% to nearly 2% from February 14th through today (or through Friday, March 3rd's closing price, thus the difference between quotes), traders like me who favor TVIX or UVXY would be sitting right where they started, whether short or long. See chart below for a short history of UVXY over the last nearly-three-weeks.
My account performance shows a gain of several percent. How did I do that, when trading nothing but UVXY/TVIX? And when taking a large loss on short puts for UVXY at a level that was hardly seen again over a range starting minutes after my entry through the present?
See the account progress, above. Now, see the ill-fated set of UVXY puts below.
It's easy to imagine the feelings I had (but you can't imagine the curse words) during the remainder of the day on Thursday, February 9th, during all of Friday, February 10th, and for every minute up through February 15th when UVXY dipped down to 18.49 intraday. That's a whopping $4.01 in the money on my short puts, when I had only received eighty-four cents each. Unsure I was getting the best escape-from-punishment price, but eager to end the ordeal, I held my nose and bought the puts to close for $2.00 on February 16th, just one day from expiration. Of course, the price changed in my favor, but not until one week after the scheduled run of this drama ended, and not for more than a crazed, chaotic UVXY-trading morning. I was not trading UVXY that day, but it turns out I was in the process of getting some recompense from UVXY's country cousin, TVIX.
Note that aside from the unfortunate UVXY trade, I kept some plates in the air skillfully enough by way of shorting and closing TVIX repeatedly. First, circled in green, you see four day trades made over the course of three days. You'll see that I missed out on profit by closing the first short and then re-opening it from a lower price the next day. But then I "double-dipped" (performing the same trade twice using overlapping price points to get extra profit.) All during one day, I shorted from 4.18 to 4.12, then got back in once I saw a return to 4.19 and closed at 4.12 again. Shazam!
The next trade, in which I simply lost $13, served to lighten my holdings so that I could short again from a higher level. On February 22nd and 27th I established subsequent short positions that were closed later on the 27th (see blue box.)
When prices rose a little higher on February 28th, I shorted some more and closed those shares out on March 1st for some profit (see the orange box.) Also within the orange box, I shorted some more on March 1st and March 2nd, closing each of those out within the day, one for essentially flat and one for a $62 loss.
Despite all these gains, and enough of them to make up for the bone-headed loss, I still believe I could have managed trades better and raised my account value higher by trading more aggressively (holding more shares short at any given point, and being slower to liquidate so many), but maybe I should look at the prices between the 14th and today and realize that I squeezed what I could out of that stone. Any other change in value that doesn't seem to be reflected in the above trades has to do with shares in varying number held short from the beginning of this story through the present, which at times was zero shares but more often was and is currently considerably more.