Quick Daily Chart Update On These Financial ETFs (XLF, SKF)

As we wind down August 2010 and get ready to start a new month soon, let’s take a quick overview look at the daily charts of leading financial fund (NYSE:XLF) and its popular double-short (double inverse leveraged) fund (NYSE:SKF).  There’s some interesting things to note.

First, the XLF Daily Chart:

Starting with what jumps off the chart at you, we see the similar range-bound rectangle trading range between $15.00 and $13.50 that we see in the S&P 500 – and those will be the price reference levels traders will be watching.  Until proven otherwise with a breakout, we would expect price to remain within this range.

But there’s something else that you should note – remember that the S&P 500 is supporting at the 1,040 level, above the July 2010 low of 1,010.  That means the S&P 500 is currently forming a HIGHER LOW on the August low, while the Financials (NYSE:XLF) fund is forming a LOWER LOW.

That’s important to note, as many investors see financials as a leading fund over stocks.  Right now, it’s just an interesting note that the (NYSE:XLF) just made a fresh new 2010 low (by a few pennies) while the S&P 500 (and other US equity indexes) remain above their July 2010 lows.

Otherwise, we have a positive momentum divergence in the 3/10 Oscillator and two bullish ‘power’ candles that could forecast a rally at least to the $15.00 level.  Look for that to develop if indeed price remains in its short-term trading range.

With that being said, a lot of traders turn to the leveraged funds to get more mileage from moves in the financials (or other ETFs).  That’s fine if you’re an intraday trader, but let’s take a quick look at the (NYSE:SKF) – a popular leveraged inverse financials fund, to see why “investing” in double inverse funds can get you in trouble.

SKF:  2x Leveraged Inverse Financials

Compare the two charts visually very closely.

The (NYSE:XLF) (as did the S&P 500) had a key swing low in February as the (NYSE:SKF) fund pushed to a new 2010 high – that’s what we would expect.

Then, the market rallied non-stop off that low to peak in late April ahead of the “Flash Crash.”  Of course, the (NYSE:SKF) suffered a steep decline during that three-month period, bottoming in April at the $17 per share level.

As the (NYSE:XLF) fell sharply, the SKF rose appropriately… but not back to test the high of the year as was the case when (NYSE:XLF) tested the low of the year.

Even more blatant is the fact that the (NYSE:XLF) – and broader markets – broke to fresh new 2010 lows in July.  A casual observer would expect the (NYSE:SKF) also to rally to fresh new 2010 highs – but this was clearly not the case.

That’s the ‘danger’ to investors in these leveraged funds – they track day-to-day changes in terms of percentages, but DO NOT track in the intermediate or long-term.

In other words, inverse leveraged ETFs are deteriorating vehicles that will continue to wind their way lower and lower and lower over time.  But that’s a whole other discussion.

Anyway, as the (NYSE:XLF) formed new 2010 lows, the (NYSE:SKF) peaked at the $24.50 level, down around 8% from its 2010 high.

Now, as the (NYSE:XLF) made another small fresh new 2010 low recently, the (NYSE:SKF) made another LOWER HIGH when it “should have” (to the casual observer) made a higher high.

Instead of making that higher high, the (NYSE:SKF) was comparatively down about 3.5%.

Look closely also to find that – instead of simply testing the “double bottom” at the start of August as the (NYSE:XLF) tested a “double top” at $15 – the (NYSE:SKF) actually made another LOWER LOW.

Anyway – keep this in mind and be certain to read the prospectus of any ETF you purchase.

Also, be aware of the realities of the deterioration over time of leveraged ETFs – once again, fine if you’re using them as intraday trading vehicles to get more mileage (profit) from your positions, but NOT FINE if you are investing in them.

Even Jim Cramer gets riled up about this topic!

Written By Corey Rosenbloom, CMT From Afraid To Trade  

My name is Corey Rosenbloom, CMT (Chartered Market Technician) trader, educator, analyst, and I am excited to share with you my experiences studying and trading the markets and to hear from you regarding your experiences, challenges, and frustrations, and successes. My goal is to create a community dedicated to reaching out to those who have been burned by the market or are anxious about risking their money to make money in the stock, options, or futures markets. Together, we can share strategies and learn how to overcome crippling fears that keep us from achieving our highest potential.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *