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7. iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX)

Tracking the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Total Futures Return Index, which is an indicator of market volatility, the VXX “is hugely popular, says Index Universe, “but you have to ask yourself, why? VXX is an exchange-traded note, whose issuing bank (Barclay’s Capital) promises to provide you exposure to futures, which themselves are linked to an uninvestable index that measures the future volatility of the S&P 500 based on how the options market is trading.

In other words, it’s a credit instrument based on the price of futures tied to an index that measures future volatility based on ANOTHER derivative. Did we mention that (as of June 18), it’s down 96% from its highs, and that the current shape of the volatility futures curve suggests it will lose about 14% per month due to its negative roll yield?” Right, weird.

Again - Barclays Capital declined comment. (Given that they wouldn’t comment on the GAZ — Not so weird.)

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