Trading the VIX using Bollinger Bands

Back in October, while at Stocktoberfest, I attended a talk by Chris Kimble of Kimble Charting Solutions titled "How to Capitalize on the Technimentals" It was about "how investors can benefit from combining the power of the pattern along with sentiment and fundamentals." As part of that discussion Chris covered a trade he had recently initiated. He got long XIV, the inverse VIX ETN during the mid-October selloff. (He now has a follow-up blog post showing how the trade played out -- looks like he made about a %40 profit in less than 4 weeks). I was really impressed with that strategy, which was basically a bet that volatility would return to its recent norm (mean reversion).

Since then I've been watching the VIX and XIV closely, waiting for a chance to put on a similar trade. As you know, volatility has been spiking of late largely thanks to the slide in the price of oil. So I've been studying the charts of the volatility instruments this week and I noticed something really interesting -- it seems that there are pretty good signals to not only short volatility but also to get long it. If you've spent any time at all on this site you'll notice a lot of mentions of Bollinger Bands and NR7 bars / candles. I use both of those to capitalize on the fact that low volatility begets high volatility (and high begets low). In other words, I'm always on the lookout for prices to swing from periods of range contraction to range expansion.

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