Leveraged Russia ETFs Loving Putin’s Shenanigans

With global investors still jittery about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan near-term plans now that Crimea has overwhelmingly voted to join the Russian Federation, Russia exchange trade funds still offer tales in potential treachery and, for the risk-tolerant, profits.

With Tuesday’s gain of 4.2%, the Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RSX), the largest Russia ETF by assets, is up 6.1% in the past week. RSX even traded higher last Friday in advance of Sunday’s referendum in Crimea. RSX and the rival iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF (NYSEArca: ERUS) are capturing the bulk of the attention among Russia ETFs, but savvy traders in search of rapid near-term gains know where to look beyond those ETFs. [A Strategist Questions Russia’s Market Status]

Including Tuesday’s almost 13% gain, which has been accrued on volume that is already more than seven times the daily average, the Direxion Daily Russia Bull 3x Shares (NYSEArca: RUSL) is up 32% since March 13. However, heading into Tuesday, the Direxion Daily Russia Bear 3x Shares (NYSEArca: RUSS) was up more than 43% in the past month. [Putin Pushes Traders to Risky Russia ETFs]

RUSL and RUSS frequently do not receive the notoriety that some other leveraged ETFs, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and ongoing skittishness regarding Putin’s near-term plans has put the spotlight on these volatile funds.  Data confirm as much.

As of Monday, RUSS was the second-best triple-leveraged ETF in Direxion’s lineup on a month-to-date basis while RUSL was the worst. Assessing 30-day realized volatility, RUSL was the second-most volatile bullish ETF in Direxion’s stable while only one leveraged inverse ETF was more volatile than RUSS over that time, according to Direxion data.