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3 ETFs that could profit from an August correction

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With the so-called fear gauge on Wall Street at a one-year low and August establishing a reputation for nasty surprises, it may be worth taking a look at how to profit if trouble starts brewing in the market again.

The CBOE Volatility Index fell to about 11 on Friday, its lowest level since last August as a strong jobs report soothed investors even further. Using Kensho, a hedge fund analytics tool, we searched for what may occur if the VIX jumps back 5 points to above 16. There have been almost 40 occasions in the last decade when the VIX index climbed 5 points in one month.

Historically, there were not many places to hide out during such VIX spikes as the market tanked and all 10 major sectors declined, on average.

However, there are a few ETFs that profit in times of tumult, according to Kensho.

The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF, which tracks the performance of long-term Treasurys, rose 3.3 percent on average in months of a rapidly rising VIX. The iShares Gold Trust tracks the price of gold. The Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF follows the performance of the investment-grade corporate bond market.

So if volatility starts to turn higher, history shows it pays to buy Treasurys, gold and corporate bonds.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal is a minority investor in Kensho.