The last thing on the minds of most investors these days is the desire to use leverage to improve investment returns. And that's good news. So, to maximize returns and increase exposure to various slices of the market, investors can consider using exchange-traded funds (ETFs) designed to return three times the yields of the underlying investments.

Investopedia Broker Guides: Enhance your trading with the tools from today's top online brokers.

Triple The Upside/Downside On Financials
The Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X Shares ETF (ARCA:FAS) is designed to return three times the performance of the Russell 1000 Financial Services Index ("Financial Index") on a day to day basis. The underlying financial services index is a capital weighted index of financial service providers ranging from large capitalization banks, like Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), to insurance providers, like Aflac (NYSE:AFL) and Allstate (NYSE:ALL). The FAS ETF had posted about a 59% returns year-to-date, while the Russell 1000 Financial Services Index has grown by around 19% over the same period.

How Does It Work?
The FAS ETF will invest a minimum of 80% of its net assets in long positions of the individual securities that make up the Financial Index. The fund also invests in financial instruments that provide leveraged and unleveraged exposure to the Financial Index, thus, creating the ability for returns of the underlying index to be tripled. The balance of the net assets are held in money market instruments. However, notice that the ETF's year to date performance is not equal to 3x the index's performance. As the prospectus notes: "The pursuit of daily leveraged investment goals means that the return of the Fund for a period longer than a full trading day may bear no resemblance to 300% of the return of the Index for such longer period because the aggregate return of the Fund is the product of the series of daily leveraged returns for each trading day."

SEE: Dissecting Leveraged ETF Returns

Can I Play Downside?
The other side of the coin offers investors the opportunity to benefit from the downward slide of financials in the Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X Shares ETF (ARCA:FAZ). The FAZ fund is designed to return the inverse of the Financial Index by creating short positions as opposed to holding long positions in equities, like its Bull friendly sister, the FAS ETF. The FAZ ETF is down approximately -43% year-to-date.

Other 3X Options
ETFs that offer three times the up (Bull) and three times the down (Bear) also are available as sector-specific funds. These include: the Direxion Daily Technology Bull 3X Shares (ARCA:TYH), the Direxion Daily Technology Bear 3X Shares (ARCA:TYP), the Direxion Daily Energy Bull 3X Shares (ARCA:ERX) and the Direxion Daily Energy Bear 3X Shares (ARCA:ERY).

SEE: Inverse ETFs Can Lift A Falling Portfolio

Final Thoughts
Given the volatility in the market, only investors who have the time to pay attention to these investment vehicles should consider allocating a small portion of their investments into the three-times returns ETFs. The upside potential looks explosive if you're on the right side of the market movement. However, beware of the compounded negative returns on the other side.

Use the Investopedia Stock Simulator to trade the stocks mentioned in this stock analysis, risk free!

Related Articles
  1. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Asia 50

    Read more about BlackRock's iShares Asia 50 Fund, an ETF that follows the four "Asian Tiger'' nations plus China.
  2. Investing

    Build a Retirement Portfolio for a Different World

    When it comes to retirement rules of thumb, the financial industry is experiencing new guidelines and the new rules for navigating retirement.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: WisdomTree International LargeCp Div

    Learn more about the WisdomTree International LargeCap Dividend fund, an income-based international equities ETF that focuses heavily on the United Kingdom.
  4. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: United States Gasoline Fund

    Learn about the United States Gasoline Fund, the characteristics of the exchange-traded fund, and the suitability and recommendations of it.
  5. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: United States 12 Month Oil

    Find out more information about the United States 12 Month Oil ETF, and explore detailed analysis of the characteristics, suitability and recommendations of it.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: ProShares Ultra Nasdaq Biotechnology

    Find out information about the ProShares Ultra Nasdaq Biotechnology exchange-traded fund, and learn detailed analysis of its characteristics and suitability.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3X

    Learn more about the Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3x exchange-traded fund, a new triple-leveraged ETF tracking biotechnology equities.
  8. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: First Trust Health Care AlphaDEX

    Learn more about the First Trust Health Care AlphaDEX exchange-traded fund, an indexed fund that uses an advanced stock selection methodology.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: PowerShares FTSE RAFI Emerging Mkts

    Learn more about the PowerShares FTSE RAFI Emerging Markets ETF, a fundamentally weighted fund that tracks emerging market equities.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Cali AMT-Free Muni Bond

    Learn more about the iShares California AMT-Free Municipal Bond exchange-traded fund, a popular tax-advantaged ETF that dominates its category.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Equity

    The value of an asset less the value of all liabilities on that ...
  2. Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF)

    A security that tracks an index, a commodity or a basket of assets ...
  3. Exchange-Traded Mutual Funds (ETMF)

    Investopedia explains the definition of exchange-traded mutual ...
  4. Hard-To-Sell Asset

    An asset that is extremely difficult to dispose of either due ...
  5. Sucker Yield

    When an investor has essentially risked all of his capital for ...
  6. Lion economies

    A nickname given to Africa's growing economies.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Can mutual funds invest in IPOs?

    Mutual funds can invest in initial public offerings (IPOS). However, most mutual funds have bylaws that prevent them from ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What does a high turnover ratio signify for an investment fund?

    If an investment fund has a high turnover ratio, it indicates it replaces most or all of its holdings over a one-year period. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Does index trading increase market vulnerability?

    The rise of index trading may increase the overall vulnerability of the stock market due to increased correlations between ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!