Investors dumped riskier assets Friday after Ukraine stated that its troops attacked an armored convoy from Russia, turning to safe havens like the Japanese yen and Swiss franc exchange traded funds.
For the more aggressive investor, a leveraged bet on the Japanese yen, the ProShares Ultra Yen (NYSEArca: YCL), which tries to reflect the daily 2x or 200% daily return of the the U.S. dollar price of the yen, was 0.7% higher Friday. Meanwhile, the ProShares UltraShort Yen (NYSEArca: YCS), which tries to reflect the daily -2x or -200% daily return of the U.S. dollar price of the yen, declined 0.2%.
There are no U.S.-listed ETF options to track leveraged exposure to the Swiss franc.
Emerging-market currencies faltered as Ukraine military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told reporters that government troops engaged the Russian armored column that entered the rebel-held section of the border, Bloomberg reports.
Currency traders are “protecting themselves,” Brad Bechtel, managing director of Faros Trading LLC, said in the article. “Everyone was feeling good about the situation until this news hit.”
The WisdomTree Emerging Currency Strategy Fund (NYSEArca: CEW), which tracks a group of eastern European, African, Latin American and Asian currencies, fell 0.2% Friday after rising 1.0% over the past week. [Demand For Emerging Market Assets Bolsters Currency ETFs]
The U.S. dollar, though, has not attracted overseas safe-haven interest, with the greenback touching a two-week low. The USD was depreciating after economic data revealed a slowing manufacturing sector and unexpectedly weaker activity.
The PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Index Bullish Fund (NYSEArca: UUP), which tracks a basket of six major world currencies – the euro, Japanese yen, British pound, Canadian dollar, Swedish krona and Swiss franc, dipped 0.2% Friday.
“Dollar-yen is reacting to the Ukraine headline — geopolitical risk hasn’t really been in the picture this week until now,” Charles St-Arnaud, senior economist at Nomura Securities International Inc, said in the article. “It’s one of those that’ll create volatility, depending how it’ll develop. We still need to wait to hear from Russia to see what’s going on.”
CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust
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Max Chen contributed to this article.