Definition of 'Inverse ETF'
An exchange-traded fund (ETF) that is constructed by using various derivatives for the purpose of profiting from a decline in the value of an underlying benchmark. Investing in these ETFs is similar to holding various short positions, or using a combination of advanced investment strategies to profit from falling prices.
Also known as a "Short ETF," or "Bear ETF."
Investopedia explains 'Inverse ETF'
One advantage is that these ETFs do not require the investor to hold a margin account as would be the case for investors looking to enter into short positions.
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. In addition, it is possible to buy inverse ETFs that focus on a specific sector, such as financials, energy or consumer staples. Most investors look to purchase inverse ETFs so that they can hedge their portfolios against falling prices.