Sunday, October 14, 2012

How to Speculate on a Market Drop Without Options or Shorting

Investors who may be anticipating an October stock market crash have a few options. One way is to short the market, however, the potential loss is unlimited. Another way is to buy put options. However, these have fast approaching expirations, and if they aren't in-the-money at the time of expiration, it will result in an entire loss of the investment. Plus, for novice investors, options may be difficult to understand.
So what is left? Bearish exchange traded funds, also known as Bearish ETFs. These are investments that have a goal of providing the daily inverse of a stock index. Some of these ETFs have an objective of 100% of the reverse performance, and some can provide a 300% opposite return. These are extremely volatile investments that are designed for short term trades, not long term investments. They achieve their performance through the use of various financial instruments including futures contracts, options, equity caps, collars, floors, swap agreements, short positions, and reverse repurchase agreements.
According to, there are over a dozen commonly traded triple bearish ETFs available for investors. One popular one is the Daily S&P 500 Bear 3X Shares ETF (SPXS), which attempts to produce 300% of the inverse of the performance of the S&P 500. In other words, if the S&P 500 drops 2% in one day, the ETF should drop 6%. Of course, if the S&P 500 rises by 2%, the ETF will drop by 6%, a significant loss. So it is worth repeating, there are extremely risky investments.
Investors can be more specific in terms of what sectors will drop, or will drop the most. For example, suppose you think energy stocks will tank. There is the Daily Energy Bear 3X Shares ETF (ERY), which attempts to track 300% of the inverse of the Energy Select Sector Index. Think bank and financial services companies are overpriced and due for a drop? There is the Daily Financial Bear 3X Shares ETF (FAZ).
There is even a triple bearish gold ETF called the Daily Gold Miners Bear 3X Shares ETF (DUST). Take a look at its stock ticker symbol! It's objective is to produce 300% of the opposite of the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index.
For a free list of the most commonly traded triple bearish ETFs which can be downloaded, go to
Disclosure: Author didn't own any of the above at the time the article was written.

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