Commodity ETFs give investors the chance to play the natural resources market like they were never able to before, as now even part-time investors are able to get a piece of these quickly evolving markets. For some this access was not diverse enough, resulting in the demand for leveraged products, where the fund will work to double or some times even triple the performance of an index. These funds are not recommended for the part-time or risk-adverse investor, but as one of the largest growing areas in commodity investing it seems clear that many are ready to take on some risk [see Commodity Guru ETFdb Portfolio].
Below, we outline the five most popular leveraged commodity ETPs for savvy traders looking to make a play in the futures market [see also 17 ETFs For Day Traders]:
1. Ultra Silver (AGQ)
With close to a billion dollars in assets, this ETF has almost double the funding of the second most popular levered commodity ETF. This fund works to double the daily performance of silver bullion, as measured by the U.S. dollar. Silver is one of the more volatile commodity options available, so it is no surprise that this leveraged offering is a favorite among risk-hungry active traders. Last year alone saw prices peak at $180, only to drop to $80 within the month and land at $40 not long after. Clearly a holding in silver will not help any investor sleep at night, but with over 1.4 billion shares traded a day, it looks like there are many people out there willing to toss and turn to get a share of the returns [see also 25 Ways To Invest In Silver].
2. DB Gold Double Long ETN (DGP)
This ETN is designed to reflect twice the performance of chosen gold futures contracts plus the returns from investing in three-month T-bills. Compared to AGQ, its $600 million portfolio may seem small, but this is the largest gold leveraged commodity ETP out there. This ETN has outperformed the S&P 500 every year since its inception in 2008, but this could partly be due to the fact that gold has posted stellar returns in the last few years [see also 7 Leveraged ETFs Every Day Trader Must Know].
3. Ultra Gold (UGL)
Another gold fund on top, UGL measures the daily performance of gold bullion as measured by the U.S. dollar and tries to double it. This is the second of the three ProShares funds in the top five, the others being Ultra Silver and Ultra DJ-UBS Crude Oil in fourth. This fund has the lowest trading volumes of any on this list, with only 134 thousand shares traded each day. Investors looking to implement a tactical, short-term strategy in the gold market should consider this popular leveraged offering [see the Truth About Leveraged ETFs].
4. Ultra DJ-UBS Crude Oil (UCO)
The only leveraged oil fund to make the cut, this fund boast $432 million in assets under management. One noteworthy fact about this ETP is that it has a negative performance overall since inception. Even with this terrible track record people still want to play this ETP; UCO has one of the highest trading volumes in the leveraged ETF space with more than 2.5 million shares traded a day. The historical returns of this fund show just how much investors who know what they are doing could make playing UCO, but this is not a fund for the novice trader [see 3 ETF Trading Tips You Are Missing].
5. 3x Long Silver ETN (USLV)
Taking a much more volatile road than our other silver fund, AGQ, this futures-based ETN works to triple the performance of silver prices. Investors who have the foresight to play silver, along with a stomach for volatility, have the potential to generate truly stellar returns with USLV. This fund is only a year old and already it has over $130 million in assets under management and trades well over half a million shares each day, showcasing the sheer interest in the leveraged commodity space.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.