In recent years, inverse and leveraged exchange traded funds have spent ample time in the spotlight .

Investors enjoy the idea of potential returns that are two or three times those of plain vanilla ETFs, but leveraged ETFs are not buy-and-hold instruments.

Rather, these products are best suited for active, risk-tolerant traders, something that both ProShares and Direxion, the two largest issuers of leveraged of inverse and leveraged ETFs, do a good job of explaining to investors on their web sites.

Still, it can be useful (and fun) to examine year-to-date returns for some of the top-performing leveraged ETFs and that is exactly what we’ll do here, though this list should NOT be construed to be an endorsement of applying a buy-and-hold strategy to these funds.

However, this list can be useful for short-term traders and those looking to identify winning sectors. Here are the top-10 leveraged ETFs of 2013 (returns of as of Dec. 2) starting with the…

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