This website uses cookies to collect usage information in order to offer a better browsing experience. By browsing this site or by clicking on the "ACCEPT COOKIES" button you accept our Cookie Policy.

Duration: 4:00

Level: Intermediate

Contributed By: Direxion

This Lesson describes the impact of holding a Daily 3x Leveraged Bull fund for a period of a week when the markets are flat, yet volatile.

Read More

Study Notes:

When the markets are flat but volatile.

It’s a Sunday night and Jill believes the markets will swing upwards tomorrow. She buys her daily 3x leveraged bull ETF on Monday morning for $100. On the first day the benchmark index declines by 5% to 95 and Jill’s ETF declines by 15% to $85. Her exposure to the market is now $255. On Tuesday the index swings back up to 100 gaining 5.26 percent. Jill’s ETF returns three times this 15.78% and rises to $98.42 cents for a total exposure of $295.26 cents.

On Wednesday the benchmark index continues its rally and rises to 105 points for a 5 percent gain. Jill’s ETF rises to $113.18 cents with a total exposure of $339.54 cents. Thursday sees the benchmark index erasing its gains and dropping back to 100 points for a 4.76 percent decline. Jill’s ETF drops 14.29 percent to $97.02 cents and $291.06 cents worth of exposure. On Friday the benchmark index declines 5 percent to 95 and Jill’s ETF drops 15 percent to $82.46 cents or $247.38 cents of exposure. Finally, on the following Monday the index rises back to 100 points gaining 5.26 percent and Jill’s ETF rises 15.79 percent to $95.48 cents with $286.44 cents of exposure.

This type of whipsawing environment can have a significant impact on leveraged ETFs because daily leveraged ETFs respond to gains by increasing exposure and respond to losses by decreasing exposure. So each day’s market movement changes Jill’s exposure level.

In an environment where the index value moves up and down each day starting at 100 and ending at 100 Jill’s daily 3x leveraged bull ETF ended up losing 4.52 percent due to negative compounding.

To summarize, if an investor like Jill holds a leveraged bull ETF for longer than a day her returns may be significantly higher or lower than a cumulative return of the index times 3, because of the way compounding changes one’s exposure to the market from day to day.

In the first example with a steadily rising market Jill’s returns were significantly higher than 3 times the index’s cumulative returns. In the second example her losses were significantly less than 3 times the index’s cumulative loss. In the third, and final example, even though the index ended 6 volatile days with no change, Jill ended up losing money on her investment.

It’s important to understand that in all three scenarios Jill’s ETF did exactly what it was designed to do on a daily basis. However, as the fund performed its daily rebalances over extended periods of time, positive or negative compounding occurred, and the returns ended up differing sometimes quite significantly from the cumulative return of the benchmark index multiplied by 3.

To learn more about directions leveraged ETFs please visit

Disclosure: Interactive Brokers

Information posted on IBKR Traders’ Academy that is provided by third-parties and not by Interactive Brokers does NOT constitute a recommendation by Interactive Brokers that you should contract for the services of that third party. Third-party participants who contribute to IBKR Traders’ Academy are independent of Interactive Brokers and Interactive Brokers does not make any representations or warranties concerning the services offered, their past or future performance, or the accuracy of the information provided by the third party. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

This material is from IEX Group and is being posted with permission from IEX Group. The views expressed in this material are solely those of the author and/or IEX Group and IBKR is not endorsing or recommending any investment or trading discussed in the material. This material is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. To the extent that this material discusses general market activity, industry or sector trends or other broad based economic or political conditions, it should not be construed as research or investment advice. To the extent that it includes references to specific securities, commodities, currencies, or other instruments, those references do not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell or hold such security. This material does not and is not intended to take into account the particular financial conditions, investment objectives or requirements of individual customers. Before acting on this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.

Disclosure: Stock Symbols

Any stock, options or futures symbols displayed are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to portray recommendations.

Disclosure: Leverage ETFs

Complex or Leveraged Exchange-Traded Products are complicated instruments that should only be used by sophisticated investors who fully understand the terms, investment strategy, and risks associated with the products.  Learn more about the risks here:

trading top
Translate »