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Diversification of Equity with VIX Futures: Personal Views and Skewness Preference

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  • Carol Alexander

    (ICMA Centre, Henley Business School, University of Reading)

  • Dimitris Korovilas

    (ICMA Centre, Henley Business School, University of Reading)

Abstract

A comprehensive description of the trading and statistical characteristics of VIX futures and their exchange-traded notes motivates our study of their benefits to equity investors seeking to diversify their exposure. We analyze when diversification into VIX futures is ex-ante optimal for standard mean-variance investors, then extend this to include (a) skewness preference, and (b) a moderation of personal forecasts by equilibrium returns, as in the Black-Litterman framework. An empirical study shows that skewness preference increases the frequency of diversification, but out-of-sample the optimally-diversified portfolios rarely out-perform equity alone, even according to a generalized Sharpe ratio that incorporates skewness preference, except during an extreme crisis period or when the investor has personal access to accurate forecasts of VIX futures returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Carol Alexander & Dimitris Korovilas, 2012. "Diversification of Equity with VIX Futures: Personal Views and Skewness Preference," ICMA Centre Discussion Papers in Finance icma-dp2012-07, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  • Handle: RePEc:rdg:icmadp:icma-dp2012-07
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    File URL: http://www.icmacentre.ac.uk/files/discussion-papers/DP_2012_07.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bekaert, Geert & Wu, Guojun, 2000. "Asymmetric Volatility and Risk in Equity Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(1), pages 1-42.
    2. Vihang Errunza & Ked Hogan & Mao-Wei Hung, 1999. "Can the Gains from International Diversification Be Achieved without Trading Abroad?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(6), pages 2075-2107, December.
    3. Marie Briere & Alexandre Burgues & Ombretta Signori, 2008. "Volatility Exposure for Strategic Asset Allocation," Working Papers CEB 08-034.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    4. Daskalaki, Charoula & Skiadopoulos, George, 2011. "Should investors include commodities in their portfolios after all? New evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 2606-2626, October.
    5. Harry Markowitz, 1952. "Portfolio Selection," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 7(1), pages 77-91, March.
    6. Egloff, Daniel & Leippold, Markus & Wu, Liuren, 2010. "The Term Structure of Variance Swap Rates and Optimal Variance Swap Investments," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(05), pages 1279-1310, October.
    7. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7739 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Reinhold Hafner & Martin Wallmeier, 2008. "Optimal investments in volatility," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 22(2), pages 147-167, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bahaji, Hamza & Aberkane, Salah, 2016. "How rational could VIX investing be?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 556-568.
    2. Jędrzej Białkowski & Huong Dieu Dang & Xiaopeng Wei, 2017. "Does the Tail Wag the Dog? Evidence from Fund Flow to VIX ETFs and ETNs," Working Papers in Economics 17/17, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    3. Park, Yang-Ho, 2015. "Volatility-of-volatility and tail risk hedging returns," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 38-63.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Black–Litterman Model; Mean–Variance Criterion; Optimal Asset Allocation; SPY; Roll cost; VIX Futures; VXX; Volatility ETNs;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors

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