A (Popular) ETF Down 97%??? (FAZ)

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June 5, 2009 9:38am NYSE:FAZ NYSE:GLD

down-arrowThere’s a lot of interesting information in the latest report, including a complete table showing assets and inflows by ETF provider. Of all the data points covered, however, one in particular caught my eye.

So far this year, the Direxion Financial Bear 3x ETF (NYSE: FAZ) has attracted the second-greatest inflow of any ETF on the market, at $4.6 billion. Only the SPDR Equity Gold (NYSE: GLD) has done better, pulling in $11.8 billion.

Despite the massive inflows, FAZ ended May with just $1.6 billion in assets. Such a gap suggests that investors in the fund have experienced terrible returns. 


And they have. Since FAZ launched in November 2008, the security has lost 93% of its value, falling from $71.41 per share last November 6 all the way down to $4.83 per share on Wednesday.

The numbers look more extreme if you measure from the ETF’s peak-to-trough. Using end-of-day closing prices, FAZ rallied in the 10 days after its launch from $71.41 to $165.48 per share. The fund peaked intraday above $200 per share, according to Yahoo Finance. Using those measures, the fund is off either 97% or 98% from its high point.

Such a view makes the success of the fund in attracting assets all that more intriguing. Investors keep pouring money into the fund despite the massive losses.

Or, perhaps I should say, traders are flocking to FAZ. Despite having just $1.6 billion in assets at the end of May, $43 billion worth of FAZ shares traded hands in May. That’s $2.2 billion per day, meaning the fund turned over its entire portfolio every single trading day of the month.

Full Story:  http://www.indexuniverse.com/component/content/article/31/5952.html?Itemid=19


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