What Happened The Last Two Times VIX Closed Below 15%?

Tyler Durden's picture

VIX has only rarely traded below 15% during 'new normal' times. The period from 2004 to early 2007, the so-called 'Great Moderation', saw VIX average 13.6% - at the time stunningly low (and notably where VIX closed yesterday). While looking at VIX alone can be misleading (with regard to the term structure differences and realized vol premia), it is nevertheless a gauge of market's expectations of return volatility in the short-term - however contemporaneous that is. Following the two times that VIX first closed below 15%, the S&P 500 has suffered from a 5.25% and 7.75% plunge in the following two months - and each time saw a quick post-VIX-plunge pop in stocks that provided better entry levels for shorts. High Yield credit also stumbled hard widening 80 and 150bps respectively.

 

Longer-term VIX has only rarely traded at these levels...

 

and the last two times showed significant retracements in April 2011...

 

and March 2012...

and should you be looking for a position, it would appear the S&P is a 'better' short (given its richness to high-yield credit)...

 

Charts: Bloomberg