Friday, June 19, 2009

The Weekly Friday Swoon of VIX

I'm watching the traditional drop of the VIX on Fridays. SPX Options prices are dropping as the time time decay value of the weekend is being incorporated--this is reflected as a drop in their IV, even though it is really a time effect.

As is typical the VIX call prices are not dropping--perhaps they are tied to the VIX futures which I'm guessing don't care which day of the week it is. As a result the VIX option IV values jump up across the board--no combination/spread opportunities present themselves.

Assuming nothing much happens over the weekend then Monday the VIX will bounce up, and the absolute value of the VIX options will stay about the same--and their IV will drop down again. No opportunity to buy cheap options on Friday and sell them dear on Monday. Even though VXX is designed to track the VIX, it will have none of this nonsense and doesn't follow the weekend wiggle.

It strikes me that in this scenario the VIX is not representing volatility-it is exhibiting some 2nd order effects of SPX options trading--namely that they don't trade on the weekends/holidays. So two days of the week -- Friday and Monday the VIX is being jerked around an artifact.

For the purposes of analysing a potential pseudo buy-write of VXX and Deep ITM VIX calls then it seems like I would be better off looking at the ratio of the next to expire 10 VIX call to the VXX. Since the bid-ask spread is always wide on these, splitting the difference seems reasonable. The value for today, around 2:30 EDT was around .415 for this ratio, while the VIX/VXX ratio has dropped below .37 (it was as high as .415 early this week).

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