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H&W in the Media

Biggest Stock Market Drop in Month Awakens Haven Trades

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Faced with signs of financial market stress, traders are rushing back to the options market.

They’re piling into exchange-traded products tied to stock volatility, with more than 60 million shares of the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN changing hands yesterday. That made the security that rises when equity swings increase the fourth-most active U.S. exchange-traded fund. They’re also adding to bets on gold: bullish contracts on an ETF tracking the metal cost the most in a year relative to bearish ones.

“The precious metal has become the outlet for many investors who don’t want to look at Treasuries and realize that the equity-market rally could stall,” said Kevin Mahn, the Parsippany, New Jersey-based president of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management, which oversees more than $600 million. “Concern about China slowing down is another reason to be in gold. Also, the Crimea tension pushed prices higher.”

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