It was rough going all over the first week of the new year, but not for short exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Short ETFs are the contrarians of the markets, designed to do the opposite of whatever the market is doing, which means when things are heading south, short ETFs are exactly where you might want to be. Trang Ho of Investor’s Business Daily reports that those funds cleaned up last week.

While shorts simply do the opposite, ultra-shorts are designed to do twice the opposite. The ProShares UltraShort Semiconductor (SSG) was up 24% for the week after its index, the Dow Jones U.S. Semiconductors, dropped 15%. The technology sector took a hit last week, too, because the ProShares UltraShort Technology (REW) was up 13.7%.

Other sectors that saw their double-short ETFs moving upward were consumer services, real estate, financials and emerging markets.

See how it works? In volatile times like these, short ETFs may be something to consider to keep the markets from dragging your portfolio down with them. Handle them with care, though: if those sectors begin to perform well, you could take a nasty hit.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.