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When the VIX, the market's fear gauge, is spiking here are the few trades that work

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Getty Images
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

As the CBOE Volatility index climbed above the key 20 level briefly Tuesday on rising election uncertainty, what's the best trade if it keeps moving higher over the next week?

CBOE VIX index, 1-day

Using hedge fund analytics tool Kensho, CNBC PRO analyzed the more than 60 occasions in the last decade when the so-called fear gauge jumped 5 points in five days to see which ETF securities did well.

Theoretically, these ETFs should work in the lead-up to the presidential election if the VIX goes from 20 to 25.



Out of many highly liquid ETFs tracking various asset classes and industries, the four highlighted above were among the few which posted a gain, on average, during periods of extreme rising volatility.

If things are about to get more chaotic before the election, history says hide out in bonds and gold. For those with a bigger risk appetite, the ProShares Short S&P 500 ETF, which uses futures and other derivatives to bet against the market, also should work, if history repeats itself.

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