Chart Courtesy: Market Chess
Lunch with Russia ETFs, in particular RUSL, is far from free. RSX has a three-year standard deviation of 27.2%. Said another way, RSX has been 1,200 basis points more volatile than the MSCI Emerging Markets Index over the past three years.
Additionally, oil prices will likely determine the near-term fate of RSX and RUSL. After all, no non-OPEC is as heavily dependent on oil as a driver of government revenue as Russia is. Nearly half of Russia’s government receipts come by way of oil exports. [Oil’s Slide Drains These Country ETFs]
Of course, there is the valuation argument, a familiar refrain of Russia bulls in recent years. Indeed, Russian stocks are down right cheap. At a forward P/E of four, the MSCI Russia Index trades at less than half valuation of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index and about a quarter of the valuation of the S&P 500.
There is another interesting point in favor of RUSL: Investors’ tendency to be wrong with leveraged ETFs. RUSL has seen outflows of over $21 million over the past month, according to Direxion data.
There is validity in going against the crowd with leveraged ETFs. Consider this: From about Aug. 20, 2014 to Sept. 23, the Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bear 3X Shares (NYSEArca: DUST) lost $185.3 million in assets but surged 55% over that period. [Getting it Wrong With Leveraged ETFs]