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Hedging Market Selloffs With ETFs

The stock market continues to trade within a narrow range in 2015 with big moves on a daily basis.

The S&P 500 failed to break above resistance at a double top at 2064 late last week, and has started this week on the defensive note.

To combat falling equity prices, one option for long-term investors is a hedging strategy. This strategy could involve keeping the current positions in a portfolio and adding an inverse ETF that will profit when the overall stock market declines.

Hedging is typically for more advanced investors, and is not a long-term investment.

Below are a few ETFs that could be beneficial for such a strategy:

Related Link: Barron's Recap: Here's How The "Superrich" Hedge Their Bets

ProShares Short S&P 500 ETF

The ProShares Short S&P500 (ETF) (NYSE: SH) is made up of various short positions on the S&P 500 seeking to benefit from a bear market. SH is a popular option because of its daily inverse relationship to an index that tracks the 500 largest companies in the U.S.

The ETF is down 15 percent over the last 12 months, down 4 percent over the last six months and up almost 2 percent from last week following a serious of bad earnings reports. The ETF has an expense ratio of 0.89 percent.

AdvisorShares Ranger Equity Bear ETF

The AdvisorShares Trust (NYSE: HDGE) is made up of shorted equity securities, which the firm identifies as having low earning qualities or over aggressive accounting measures.

They will also take advantage of event-driven situations, such as bad earnings or reduced forward guidance. HDGE is down 12 percent over the last 12 months and down 2 percent over the last six months. The ETF has an expense ratio of 2.92 percent.

The top short positions in the ETF are:

  • Deutsche Bank AG (USA) (NYSE: DB) with a 3.2 percent holding

  • Comerica Incorporated (NYSE: CMA) making up 2.7 percent of the ETF

  • BorgWarner Inc. (NYSE: BWA) coming in at 2.4 percent

ProShares Short Financials ETF

The ProShares Short Financials (ETF) (NYSE: SEF) attempts to replicate the daily inverse move for the Dow Jones U.S. Financials Index. The ETF is made up of seven short swaps on some of the world's largest financial institutions.

The top short positions include:

  • Credit Suisse Group AG (ADR) (NYSE: CS)

  • Societe Generale SA (ADR) (OTC: SCGLY)

  • UBS Group AG (USA) (NYSE: UBS)

  • Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC)

  • Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS)

SEF is down 15 percent over the last 12 months and down 6 percent over the last six months. However, it is up nearly 5 percent from the late December 2014 low. The financial short ETF has an expense ratio of 0.95 percent.

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