With the S&P 500 down nearly 3% over the past week, it is not surprising that some traders are looking for protection and the potential for out-sized near-term profits with leveraged exchange traded funds.
What is surprising, or at the very least interesting, is where the action has (or has not been) in some of the more focused leveraged ETFs.
Take the case of the Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X Shares (NYSEArca: FAS) and the Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X Shares (NYSEArca: FAZ). Widely discussed has been the weakness in financial services shares and the corresponding ETFs. Since the start of the third quarter, the Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) has bled assets while the Vanguard Financials ETF (NYSEArca: VFH) is off 3.5% over that time. [Brewing Trouble for Bank ETFs]
That has not stoked massive inflows to FAZ. Rather, some traders are betting on a rebound for bank stocks and have poured $102 million into FAS since last Wednesday while pulling $32 million from FAZ, Direxion Senior Vice President for Capital Markets and Institutional Michael Eschmann told ETF Trends.
The FAS/FAZ riddle is not unfamiliar. For example, there were plenty of instances of traders pulling from the Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bear 3X Shares (NYSEArca: DUST) while allocating capital to theDirexion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X Shares (NYSEArca: NUGT) during the worst days of the gold miners’ declines.
Another interesting tidbit among leveraged sector ETFs comes courtesy of the Direxion Daily Energy Bear 3X Shares (NYSEArca: ERY). ERY attempts to deliver three times the daily inverse performance of theStandard and Poor’s Energy Select Sector Index, the underlying benchmark for the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE).
ERY is doing its job, up 14.5% over the past week while XLE is off 4.6%. That, perhaps surprisingly, has not stoked big inflows into ERY. ERY, however, has seen its average volume over the past five trading days jump almost 33% above the trailing 20-day average, according to Eschmann.
Another curious leveraged ETF scenario comes by way of the bond arena. The Direxion Daily 20-Year Treasury Bear 3X Shares (NYSEArca: TMV) has seen a steady influx of new money, indicating some traders are betting on higher interest rates.
TMV has pulled $88.4 million since the start of the third quarter even though 10-year Treasury yields have fallen over that time. TMV is designed to deliver triple the daily inverse performance of the NYSE 20 Year Plus Treasury Bond Index, which is to say this ETF will surge if and when rates do move higher. [Profiting From Rising Rates With ETFs]
Direxion Daily 20-Year Treasury Bear 3X Shares