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5 Best Performing Leveraged ETFs of the Bull Market

Sweta Killa

Braving endless hurdles, the U.S. stock market has been soaring since the March 2009 debacle and has completed eight years of its “Bull Run”. The stocks have more than tripled the eight-year period with the S&P 500 rising nearly 249% from the bear-market bottom of 676.53 on March 9, 2009.

The strong rally was mainly fueled by cheap money flows, lower interest rates, hopes of Trump’s pro-growth and global monetary easing policies though a host of challenges kept cropping up and threatening the longevity of the bullish trend. Some of the these issues include debt crisis, government shutdown, the Middle East conflict, geopolitical tension, Greece turmoil, China’s soft landing issues, Japan’s recession, a global slowdown, Brexit, and the oil price carnage.

The U.S. economy has come a long way emerging from the ills of the financial crisis and the Great Recession buoyed by robust job gains, rising wages, slowly rising inflation, increasing consumer spending, a thriving auto industry, a recovering housing market and a record level of consumer confidence. Americans have an optimistic view of the economy with confidence hitting the highest level in more than 15 years (read: The Best Performing ETFs of the Bull Market Might Surprise You).

Additionally, Q4 corporate earnings have made a strong comeback setting an all-time quarterly record with the highest growth in two years. Further, oil price has impressively roared back to $55 per barrel from a 12-year low of under $27 per barrel. Signs of improvement in Japanese, Chinese and European economies have also infused fresh optimism in the markets.

While every corner of the stock market is celebrating their ascent, leveraged ETFs have piled up abnormal returns during the eight-year period. Leveraged funds provide multiple exposure (i.e 2x or 3x) to the daily performance of the underlying index by employing various investment strategies such as swaps, futures contracts and other derivative instruments.

Below, we have highlighted five that could see more gains if the market continues to trend upward (read: Leveraged ETFs: How Are They Built and What's Hot Now?).

Direxion Daily Technology Bull 3x Shares TECL – Up 2207.2%

This ETF targets the technology sector with three times (3x) leveraged exposure to the Technology Select Sector Index. It has amassed about $248.6 million in its asset base while charges 95 bps in fees per year from investors. Volume is good as it exchanges around 124,000 shares a day on average.

Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bull 3x Shares SPXL – Up 1837.7%

This fund creates a triple leveraged long position in the S&P 500 Index while charging 95 bps in fees a year. It has $535.1 million in AUM and trades in volume of 1 million shares on average (read: S&P 500 On A Bull Run: Bet on Leveraged ETFs for 2017).

ProShares Ultra QQQ QLD – Up 1621.7%

Investors have embraced this product to make huge profits from the soaring NASDAQ-100 Index. The product offers twice (2x) the return of the daily performance of the index, charging 0.95% in annual fees. The fund has AUM of $1.1 billion and trades in solid average daily volume of 978,000 shares.

ProShares Ultra Consumer Services UCC – 1582.2%

This product provides two times exposure to the daily performance of the Dow Jones U.S. Consumer Services Index. It has been able to manage $20.6 million in its asset base and trades in a paltry volume of around 2,000 shares per day on average. Expense ratio is 0.95%.

Direxion Daily Mid Cap Bull 3x Shares MIDU – Up 1314.7%

This ETF provides three times the return of the daily performance of the S&P MidCap 400 Index and exchanges around 44,000 shares in hand on average per day. The fund has AUM of $66.3 million and charges 95 bps in fees and expenses.

Bottom Line

As a caveat, investors should note that these products are extremely volatile and suitable only for short-term traders. Additionally, the daily rebalancing – when combined with leverage – may make these products deviate significantly from the expected long-term performance figures (see: all Leveraged Equity ETFs here).

Still, for ETF investors who are bullish on the equity for the near term, any of these products can be an interesting choice for those with high-risk tolerance, and a belief that the “trend is the friend” in this corner of the investing world.

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