Using Volatility Instruments as Extreme Downside Hedges
“Long volatility” is thought to be an effective hedge against a long equity portfolio, especially during periods of extreme market volatility. This study examines using volatility futures and variance futures as extreme downside hedges, and compares their effectiveness against traditional “long volatility” hedging instruments such as out-of-the-money put options. Our results show that CBOE VIX and variance futures are more effective extreme downside hedges than out-of-the-money put options on the S&P 500 index, especially when reasonable actual and/or estimated costs of rolling contracts have taken into account. In particular, using 1-month rolling as well as 3-month rolling VIX futures presents a cost-effective choice as hedging instruments for extreme downside risk protection as well as for upside preservation.
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