Stocks were flat this morning as investors began to process a deluge of information on the inflation front. Key data released earlier this morning showed that inflation is building in the U.S. economy. May’s 6.6% increase in producer prices, which measures how much companies pay producers for goods, is the largest 12-month increase on record. The producer price index rose 0.8% from the previous month, exceeding the 0.6% estimate. Moreover, May’s retail sales declined 1.3% compared to the 0.7% expected decline.
Investors are also focused on the critical Federal Reserve meeting which kicks off today. As investing legend Paul Tudor Jones said during an interview with CNBC, “It could be the most consequential of J. Powell’s career.” The central bank is not expected to take any action, but it could make tweaks to its forecasts for interest rates and inflation that market pros say could be market moving.
Our trade alert for today features a tactic that you can use to hedge their portfolio and even to turn a quick profit if things get ugly. Many of the Wall Street pros consider this tactic a more logical alternative to short-selling. It’s an important tool to have in your tool kit for the next time you think a downturn could be coming. Read on to learn how to put this valuable tactic into play.
The main risk of traditional short-selling is that while profit is capped (a stock can only fall to zero), risk is theoretically unlimited. Of course, other tactics can be used to cover a position at any time, but with a short-selling position, inventors are at risk of receiving margin calls on their trading account if their short position moves against them.
Inverse or “short” ETFs are another option that allow you to profit when a certain investment class declines in value. Some investors use inverse ETFs to profit from market declines while others use them to hedge their portfolios against falling prices.
Over short periods of time you can expect that the inverse ETF will perform “the opposite” of the index, but over longer periods of time a disconnect may develop. Inverse ETFs will decline as an asset appreciates over time. For that reason, inverse ETFs typically are not seen as good long-term investments. Furthermore, frequent trading often leads to an increase in fund expenses and some inverse ETFs have expense ratios of 1% or more.
When approached correctly, inverse ETFs can be excellent day-trading candidates and highly effective short-term hedging tools. There are several inverse ETFs that can be used to profit from declines in broad market indexes, such as the Russell 2000 or the Nasdaq 100. Also, there are inverse ETFs that focus on specific sectors, such as financials, energy, or consumer staples.
With nearly $4 billion in assets, the ProShares Short S&P 500 (SH) is the largest inverse fund by value. Commonly used by investors as a hedging vehicle, the fund strives to deliver the inverse performance of the S&P 500 (SPX). If you’re concerned about the stock market falling, then this fund that moves the opposite direction of the largest 500 U.S. corporations is the simplest way to protect yourself.
It’s important to note that SH is designed to deliver inverse results over a single trading session, with exposure resetting on a monthly basis. Investors considering this ETF should understand how that nuance impacts the risk/return profile, and realize the potential for “return erosion” in volatile markets. SH should definitely not be found in a long-term, buy-and-hold portfolio. The fund comes along with an expense ratio of 0.9%.
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InvestorPlace & Charlie Shrem
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