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Sunday, February 5, 2012

VIX & VIX Futures Now Undervalued


   VIX closing value of 17.1 is now in line with Fair Volatility Estimate (FVE)'s value of 17.02.  I believe it's time to look to buy volatility, although an uptrend in FVE has not materialized.  Recently, I have added 2 more variations to my Fair Volatility Estimate Model, the FVE2 & FVE Futures.  FVE2 is used to look at VIX value and FVE Futures (FVEF) is used to look at VIX front month futures value.  VIX is below FVE2 and VIX Futures is below FVEF.  Based on my models, VIX & VIX Futures are now below "fair value", whereas since end-of September 2011, they were mostly overvalued.


    Unfortunately, trades were made in the live account I was utilizing to build my trading record by my partner without my knowledge this past week.  It was an honest mistake--breakdown in communication, but I feel I have to start over.  For my diary records, my system exited the short position on 1/30/12, so I would have missed the continued plunge in volatility this past week.  From 11/16/2011 to 1/30/2012, the account returned 17.9%.


Relating to simulation backtests on FVE...

My backtests were carried out with hard rules using the Fair Volatility Estimate (FVE). For ex, 1) Buy VIX when FVE>FVE X days ago AND Previous VIX< Previous FVE and VIX>Previous VIX, 2)Exit when VIX >y% above FVE on daily close, 3) Reverse rules for Short and Exit Short. I tested for x= 5 to 12, y=0% to 9%. Out of 80 combinations since 10/1/2009, worst had 39.38% annualized return, best had 220.58% annualized performance--using 1/2 the available capital & 0.08 pts slippage. Of course, VIX is not a tradeable instrument, so I took one of the combinations near the middle with 121.62% annualized performance and ran simulation on front month VIX futures. To my surprise, the simulation resulted in 220% annualized returns (the term structure of VIX futures added to the performance). So based on these and other simple backtests, I made the assumption that a trading strategy utilizing the FVE would yield 50-100% annualized returns.

Of course, live trading is very different from simulation. Furthermore, the questions & challenges I am facing will probably be the same ones anyone else walking a similar path would face. 1) Is it better to achieve profits or show integrity of the trading system from the beginning when your credibility is most at question? 2) Am I trying to showcase ME or my system? 3) Can you truly separate the person from the system or should you factor in that human intervention is going to play a part and just record the effects of that? Of course, I had not quite answered these questions for myself, thus the early exits, but I am taking steps to resist (prevent myself from) the urge to intervene.

Example of market changes that would make a profitable system no longer profitable...

I used TradeStation Constant Volume Bars in intraday system to trade Kospi200 index futures back before 2004. The system was pretty profitable until Citadel came into Korea's option market & crushed implied vol, which in turn crushed actual volatility. Smaller movement=small profits if the system is trend or breakout following. Have u considered trading VIX futures with CVB & breakout system? I figure if an underlying moves >40 vol, most intraday breakout systems would show solid profits. Thinking of coming up with my own intraday system trading VIX futures. Also, this is just my thought, not based on data, but I wonder with computerized trading dominating volume, wouldn't volume-based indicators lose some of their effectiveness? Assuming technical indicators are trying to reflect market psychology...? 

Why qualitative analysis is just as, if not more important, than quantitative analysis...
I first learned technical analysis in 1996 and started analyzing the Korean Stock Index. In backtests of MAs, the 3-day SMA consistently outperformed all other MAs, but 4-day MAs were significantly less profitable. I never traded it because I didn't have confidence in the data, but the 3-day SMA "worked" until it stopped working in 1998. Much later on I realized gov't regulation and changes to the "day-trading" rule may have been behind this. Before the change in 1998, a speculator's entire account capital would be tied up for t+2, regardless of whether a stock was bought & sold on the same day.

The 22-day period may have significance for various reasons. There are roughly 22 trading days in a calendar month. Futures and Options positions are unwound every expiration, Fund flows to the market may follow calendar month or payday/expense periods, etc. and yes, if enough investors believe and act upon Fibonacci numbers, then "external" forces may become "internal" forces in the market.

Quantitatively, 22 may be a curve-fit number, whereas qualitatively, one could think of it as a very meaningful number. I hope I didn't just state the obvious. Sorry if I did.

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