Friday, May 15, 2009

Leveraged Long ETFs May Not Be What You Think, Either

Danger of leveraged short ETFs has been discussed in this post, but here's more. The focus is on financial LONG ETFs.

XLF is un-leveraged, UYG is double long, FAS is triple long. Looking at their charts, you wouldn't be able to tell that, would you? XLF is almost back to the December level, while UYG is about half that, and FAS is about 1/3.

UYG has more than doubled since March low, and FAS more than tripled while XLF is slightly less than doubled. So if you were able to pick that bottom, good for you, you have bagged the huge gain. On the other hand, if you have been holding XLF since the beginning of the year and didn't sell into the dump in March, you are back to where you started. The same cannot be said for UYG and FAS.

Here's another set of charts, comparing FAS (triple long) and FAZ (triple short). Visually, in the bigger scheme of things, they both seem to be flat-lining. There are enough daily fluctuations for trades, but I'm now more convinced that they are indeed for short-term trades only.

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