31 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2009 Last revised: 2 Aug 2009
Date Written: August 1, 2009
In this paper, we study leveraged ETFs, in particular, Ultra ETFs and UltraShort ETFs from the ProShares family. These Ultra (UltraShort) ETFs are designed to provide twice (twice the opposite) of the performance of the benchmark on a daily basis. We focus on the relation between long term performance of leveraged ETFs and benchmarks. Our results show that over holding periods no greater than one month, an investor can safely assume that the Ultra (UltraShort) ETF would provide twice the return (twice the negative return) of the underlying benchmark. Over the holding period of one quarter, the UltraShort ETFs can deviate from twice the negative returns of the benchmark. For Ultra ETFs, this deviation occurs when the holding period is one year. Finally, we show that the long term performance of the leveraged ETFs is negatively impacted by the quadratic variation and the auto-variation during the period, with auto-variation being the more dominant factor.
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