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Volatility ETF Trading Volume Jumps After TVIX Suspends Issuance

tlydon@globaltrend.com (Tom Lydon)

Trading volume in a volatility-linked ETF has spiked after a competitor suspended new share issuance in a similar product following a swift rise in assets.

ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (NYSEArca: UVXY - News) saw daily trading volume jump to more than 5 million shares on Thursday and Friday for the first time. The leveraged fund, which follows VIX futures contracts rather than the spot price, was launched in October 2011.

The spike in trading volume comes after Credit Suisse last week temporarily suspended further issuance of VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short-Term ETN (NYSEArca: TVIX - News) due to internal limits on the size of the exchange traded note. [Credit Suisse Suspends Volatility ETN Issuance]

Although they are often lumped together, ETFs and ETNs have important differences. ETNs are debt instruments issued by financial institutions that promise to pay the return of an index, minus fees and taxes. ETFs are similar to traditional mutual funds in that investors own a slice of a portfolio. Credit risk is one key difference.

TVIX is trading at a premium to net asset value after the halt of new issuance.

Last week, Credit Suisse warned the temporary suspension of further share creation in TVIX “may cause an imbalance of supply and demand in the secondary market” for the ETN, which may cause the ETN to trade at a premium or discount in relation to indicative value.

On Friday, TVIX closed at a premium of nearly 11% to indicative value. Credit Suisse is the issuer of TVIX.

Trading volume in the ETN has exploded this month and the exchange traded product has grown rapidly in size.

TVIX and UVXY are both designed to deliver daily 200% leverage on an index of short-term VIX futures.

TVIX was first to market, listing in November 2010, and is much larger in terms of assets under management with $613.3 million versus $23.4 million for UVXY, according to Morningstar.

Volatility-linked ETFs can be used to help manage risk in stock portfolios or trade market trends and volatility.

ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF