Ultra ETF

DEFINITION of 'Ultra ETF'

A class of exchange-traded funds (ETF) that employs leverage in an effort to achieve double the return of a set benchmark. The first ultra ETFs were launched in 2006 and the class has grown to include different ETFs with underlying benchmarks ranging from broad market indexes, such as the S&P 500 and Russell 2000, to specific sectors, such as technology, healthcare and basic materials.

BREAKING DOWN 'Ultra ETF'

According to the prospectuses for these funds, they may not achieve double the return of the benchmark during flat markets. Long-run returns may also diverge from the desired return; the ultra ETFs' only aim is to achieve twice the daily return, which they have done fairly accurately in the short time they can be analyzed.

Ultra ETFs can be beneficial to investors who are short on capital or allocation space within a diversified portfolio. For example, they can invest 5% of their portfolios into an ultra ETF and gain closer to 10% exposure due to the leveraged returns.

Increased daily volatility is both the biggest benefit and greatest danger of ultra ETFs. They are best suited to short-term investing strategies or quick trading to maximize a given bet in the market. The expense ratios also run much higher than for standard ETFs, as most charge 0.95% of the total assets.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF)

    A security that tracks an index, a commodity or a basket of assets ...
  2. Reverse Gold ETF

    Exchange traded funds that are designed to trade in a direction ...
  3. Leveraged ETF

    An exchange-traded fund (ETF) that uses financial derivatives ...
  4. American Stock Exchange - AMEX

    The third-largest stock exchange by trading volume in the United ...
  5. Expense Ratio

    A measure of what it costs an investment company to operate a ...
  6. Leverage

    1. The use of various financial instruments or borrowed capital, ...
Related Articles
  1. Options & Futures

    Ultra ETFs Are Not Your Father's ETFs

    Ultra ETFs can add huge returns to your portfolio, but there's a lot of risk and volatility involved with these leveraged ETFs.
  2. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    4 Ways To Use ETFs In Your Portfolio

    To take full advantage of these vehicles, you need to know how they can fulfill certain strategies.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETFs: How Did We Live Without Them?

    These funds burst onto the scene in 1993 and have continued to provide new opportunities for investors since.
  4. Options & Futures

    Leveraged ETFs: Are They Right For You?

    This specialty vehicle offers dramatic results, but can also magnify risk.
  5. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Liquidity: Why It Matters

    Lower levels of liquidity in exchange-traded funds make it harder to trade them profitably.
  6. Insurance

    Futures Fundamentals

    For those who are new to futures but want a solid understanding of them, this tutorial explains what futures contracts are, how they work and why investors use them.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

    This vehicle combines the diversification of a mutual fund with the flexibility of a stock. Learn more about them here.
  8. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    3 AllianceBernstein Funds that Are Rated 5 Stars by Morningstar

    Discover the top three mutual funds administered and managed by AllianceBernstein that have received five-star overall ratings from Morningstar.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Top 4 Davis Funds for Retirement Diversification in 2016

    Discover the four best mutual funds managed by Davis Advisors that pursue different investment strategies that can help diversify retirement portfolios.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Is Morningstar’s Star System An Effective Ranking Tool? (MORN)

    Learn why Morningstar's star rating system is not always a great predictor of future performance, and why investors should not pick funds on star ratings alone.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is a derivative?

    A derivative is a contract between two or more parties whose value is based on an agreed-upon underlying financial asset, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Are target-date retirement funds good investments?

    The main benefit of target-date retirement funds is convenience. If you really don't want to bother with your retirement ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Do mutual funds require a demat account?

    A dematerialized account enables electronic transfer of funds. The account is used so an investor does not need to hold the ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How liquid are Vanguard mutual funds?

    The Vanguard mutual fund family is one of the largest and most well-recognized fund family in the financial industry. Its ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Which mutual funds made money in 2008?

    Out of the 2,800 mutual funds that Morningstar, Inc., the leading provider of independent investment research in North America, ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Does OptionsHouse have mutual funds?

    OptionsHouse has access to some mutual funds, but it depends on the fund in which the investor is looking to buy shares. ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  2. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  3. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  4. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  5. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
Trading Center