Suppose the market is going to 'crash'. What would you do? The most common answer would probably be: Sell what you have and get out of it. However, what if you have nothing to sell? A couple of years ago, simple investors would have said: 'Stay on the sidelines'. The sophisticated and professionals always had plenty of avenues, such as shorting the stock, buying put options or selling naked calls. The gap was narrowed with the arrival of leveraged and inverse ETFs. These allow even novice investors to short the market in a less risky way. Traditional ETFs track an index or basket in a one-for-one approach, basically they are managed passively. In contrast, leveraged and inverse ETFs are intraday traded, and shouldn't be confused with more-vanilla ETFs. Leveraged ETFs require active management which involves the borrowing of funds to purchase additional shares (bullish LETFs) or the short-selling (bearish LETFs) and the rebalance of the position on a daily basis. At present, most levered ETFs are either 2X, 3X, -2X, or 3X, and therefore they give investors the possibility to earn two or three times (and loose two or three times) the daily return of a simple long or short position in the index. These levered ETFs have leverage (borrowing) built into their structure, thus eliminating the need for investors to do their own borrowing (margin, futures, swaps etc.) or short-selling. But, the leveraging process is built to achieve an objective quite different from that of the simple and classical ETF.
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