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VIX Option


A VIX option is a financial derivative product that derives its value from the VIX Index, which is commonly known as the ‘fear gauge’ of the U.S. stock market. This option gives traders the opportunity to speculate on future movements of expected volatility of the S&P 500 Index. It can also be used as a tool to hedge against market volatility.


The phonetics of the keyword “VIX Option” is: viː aɪ ɛks ɒpʃən

Key Takeaways

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  1. Volatility Indicator: The VIX option, also commonly known as the “fear gauge” , is used as an indicator of the market’s expectation of future volatility. It provides real-time market risk perception.
  2. Unique Pricing: VIX options are priced using the same principles as other options, but they are influenced by the expected future volatility of the underlying asset, rather than its current price. This unique aspect can sometimes make them appear to behave idiosyncratically compared to traditional options.
  3. Risk Hedging Function: VIX options provide a way for investors to hedge against market risk. When market volatility is expected to increase, purchasing VIX options can help limit potential losses from other investments. They can also be used as a tool for speculative trades on market volatility.



VIX Options are vital in the business/finance industry as they offer methods for investors and traders to speculate and hedge against market volatility. The VIX, often known as the “fear index,” measures implied volatility in the market, providing a real-time snapshot of expectations about future stock market volatility. Volatility is a critical element for many investment strategies, and understanding its implications can have a significant impact on overall portfolio performance. Therefore, having the ability to trade with VIX Options allows investors to make market predictions, hedge against volatile swings, and potentially profit from volatility, making them an important tool in a diversified investment strategy.


VIX Options are unique financial instruments that allow traders to speculate on or hedge against market volatility. The “VIX” in VIX Option stands for Volatility Index, a real-time market index that represents the market’s expectations of 30-day forward-looking volatility, specifically pertaining to the U.S. stock market. VIX Options are derivative contracts whose underlying asset is the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX). They have captured the attention of traders because they offer leveraged exposure to changes in market volatility, rather than changes in the prices of individual securities or indexes.The purpose of VIX Options is to provide a means for traders and investors to manage risk associated with market volatility. Traders can buy VIX options in anticipation of a surge in market volatility, such as during economic downturns or times of political instability. This could potentially increase the value of these options and provide profits to the holder. On the other hand, those who anticipate steady or decreased volatility might sell VIX options. Essentially, VIX Options serve as a financial safety net, providing protection against the considerable losses that can be associated with extreme market turbulence. They are used in the investment world as a powerful tool to hedge exposures or to bet on future moves in volatility. Hence, VIX Options play a key role in the overall finance and trading ecosystem.


The VIX Option, also known as Volatility Index Option, is a derivative security which can be used in the money market as an instrument to hedge, speculate, or profit from volatility in the stock market. Here are three real-world examples demonstrating its use:1. Volatility Hedge: During the 2008 global financial crisis, many professional investors and institutional traders used VIX options to hedge their equity portfolios against a market crash. With fears about an economic meltdown running high, volatility was increasing, causing the prices of VIX options to rise. Those who had purchased these options at lower prices could then sell them at a profit, offsetting any losses from their equity holdings.2. Speculation: Suppose a trader forecasts that the upcoming monthly labor statistics report will be much weaker than market expectations. To benefit from this forecasted increase in market volatility around the time of the report’s release, they may buy a VIX call option anticipating that if their forecast is correct, the option will increase in value as volatility increases.3. Earnings Reports: Some investors use VIX options as part of their strategies surrounding company earnings reports. If an investor believes that a particular company’s upcoming earnings report will surprise the market—either positively or negatively—they may purchase a VIX option. If the market responds to the earnings report with increased volatility, the VIX option’s value could rise.Remember, these examples are strictly for illustration purpose on how VIX options are used. Investing in these options involves substantial risk and is not suitable for every investor.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a VIX Option?

A VIX Option is a derivative instrument that derives its value from the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX). It gives investors the right, but not the obligation, to trade a security at a predetermined price before or by a specified date.

How does a VIX Option work?

VIX Options provide a way to trade volatility without the risk of taking a position in the underlying index. They are European-style options, which means they cannot be exercised before the expiration date.

Who should consider using VIX Options?

VIX Options can be useful for a variety of market participants, including those who want to hedge against market volatility or profit from it. They may be especially suitable for traders comfortable with advanced trading strategies.

How is the pricing of VIX Options determined?

The pricing of VIX Options depends on factors like time to expiration, the value of the VIX index, the strike price, and market conditions. The more volatile the market, the higher the value of the VIX Options.

Where can I trade VIX Options?

VIX Options are listed and traded on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). The trading hours for VIX Options begin at 8:30 a.m. Central time.

What are the risks associated with VIX Options?

Like any derivative, VIX Options come with inherent risks. In particular, an investor could lose the entire investment if the market doesn’t move in the direction they predicted. Additionally, the options could expire worthless.

What is the difference between VIX Futures and VIX Options?

While both VIX Futures and VIX Options are based on the CBOE Volatility Index, the key difference is in the obligations of the participants. With VIX Futures, you are obligated to buy or sell the contract at expiry, but with VIX Options, you have the right, not the obligation, to exercise the contract.

Can VIX Options be exercised before the expiration date?

No, VIX Options are European-style options, meaning they can only be exercised on the expiration date. This differs from American-style options, which can be exercised at any time before expiration.

Related Finance Terms

  • Volatility Index: VIX is short for Chicago Board Options Exchange’s (CBOE) Volatility Index. It’s a measure of market risk and investors’ sentiments.
  • Put Option: One type of options contract that gives the holder the right to sell the underlying asset at a specified price within a specific time frame.
  • Call Option: Another type of options contract that allows the holder to buy the underlying asset at a predetermined price within a certain period.
  • Strike Price: This is the price at which a specific derivative contract can be bought or sold when it is exercised.
  • Expiration date: The last day an options contract is valid. After this date, the option contract becomes void, and the holder no longer has the rights specified in the contract.

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