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Profit From These ETFs if Russia-Ukraine Crisis Escalates

·5 min read
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The Russia-Ukraine crisis is the biggest concern in the stock market right now. This is especially true as the latest move by Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has escalated a conflict that could unleash a major war with the West.

Putin formally recognized the independence of east Ukraine's two separatist republics and then ordered the deployment of Russian troops to two breakaway regions of Ukraine. If Putin tries to invade Ukraine, the United States and its European allies have warned that they will impose tough sanctions against Russia. Sky News reported that U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson would unveil a "significant" package of sanctions on Russia. CNN reported that U.S. President Joe Biden would impose new sanctions on trade and financing in the two territories recognized by Putin (read: 5 ETF Buying Zones Amid Huge Volatility).

An analyst at Goldman Sachs said that stock markets are at risk of a severe pullback. The S&P 500 is at a risk of a 6.2% drop in a full-on crisis scenario wherein Russian invades Ukraine and global superpowers respond with retaliatory measures such as sanctions. The sell-off will be more pronounced for the tech heavy Nasdaq Composite Index and the small-cap Russell 2000 with declines of 9.6% and 10.2%, respectively, in the worst-case scenario.

Amid intensifying tensions, investors could stash their cash in the following ETFs that offer stability or even profit.

SPDR Gold Trust ETF GLD

Gold is viewed as a safe haven in times of economic or political turmoil. The ultra-popular product tracking this bullion like GLD could be an interesting pick. SPDR Gold Trust ETF tracks the price of gold bullion measured in U.S. dollars, and kept in London under the custody of HSBC Bank USA. It is an ultra-popular gold ETF with AUM of $61 billion and heavy volume of about 9.4 million shares a day (read: 5 ETFs to Combat Current Geopolitical Tensions).

SPDR Gold Trust ETF charges 40 bps in fees per year from investors and has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a Medium risk outlook.

iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF TLT

The products tracking the long end of the yield curve often provide a haven. iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF tracks the ICE U.S. Treasury 20+ Year Bond Index, holding 35 securities in its basket. The fund has an average maturity of 25.87 years and an effective duration of 18.93 years. iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF charges 15 bps in annual fees.

TLT is one of the most popular and liquid ETFs in the bond space, with AUM of $15.3 billion and an average daily volume of 17.4 million shares.

Oil - United States Oil Fund USO

Oil prices are inching closer to $100 per barrel as tensions mounted between Russia and the West over Ukraine has intensified. Russia was the largest supplier of natural gas and oil to the European Union last year, and these tensions have added to the supply concerns, pushing oil prices higher (read: 3 Oil ETFs to Ride the Crude Rally).

United States Oil Fund is the most-popular ETF in the oil space with an AUM of $2.6 billion and an average daily volume of 5.2 million shares. It seeks an average daily percentage change in USO’s net asset value, for any period of 30 successive valuation days, to be within plus/minus 10% of the average daily percentage change in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract over the same period. United States Oil Fund has 0.83% in expense ratio.

iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN VXX

The VIX is often known as the fear index as it surges when investors are skittish about the market’s current direction. Obviously, this is the case right now and the ETNs and ETFs tracking this benchmark are poised to gain on escalating Russia-Ukraine tensions. iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN is a popular option providing exposure to volatility that sees a truly impressive average volume of about 66 million shares a day. The note has amassed $1 billion in AUM and charges 89 bps in fees per year.

iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN focuses on the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index, which reflects implied volatility in the S&P 500 Index at various points along the volatility forward curve. It provides investors with exposure to a daily rolling long position in the first and second months of VIX futures contracts.

ProShares UltraPro Short S&P500 SPXU
 
For investors seeking to make an outright bet against the American stocks, an inverse ETF could be the way to go. ProShares UltraPro Short S&P500 provides three times inverse exposure to the daily performance of the S&P 500 Index, charging 90 bps in annual fees. ProShares UltraPro Short S&P500 has AUM of $591.6 million and trades in an average daily volume of about 21.3 million shares.

While the strategy is highly beneficial for short-term traders, it could lead to huge losses compared with traditional funds in fluctuating or seesawing markets. Further, their performances could vary significantly from the actual performance of their underlying index over a longer period when compared to the shorter period (such as, weeks or months) due to their compounding effect.


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iShares 20 Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT): ETF Research Reports
 
SPDR Gold Shares (GLD): ETF Research Reports
 
iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX ShortTerm Futures ETN (VXX): ETF Research Reports
 
United States Oil ETF (USO): ETF Research Reports
 
ProShares UltraPro Short S&P500 (SPXU): ETF Research Reports
 
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