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Barclays VIX Note Vexes Investors Not Savvy on Volatility

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Ian Mathers reckoned stocks were due for a slide as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index approached a three-year high in February.

So the 34-year-old Medevac pilot and day trader bought an exchange-traded note from Barclays Plc that’s designed to profit when stock prices get more volatile. Mathers didn’t realize the note tracks a different volatility index from the widely followed S&P 500 VIX benchmark, and could produce much different results. The confusion cost him 6 percent of his investment over two days.