Alternatives: The Next Dimension in Asset Allocation

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When it comes to trying to gain exposure to natural gas, futures contracts can be especially dangerous and are typically outside of the realm of your average investor. Enter ETFs. There are now a number of ETFs specifically dedicated to betting on the future of natural gas, whether you think it will appreciate or continue its massive decline.

For those who feel strongly about where this commodity is headed, there are a number of ETPs that offer leveraged exposure to this fossil fuel, allowing investors to make big bets. Note that these products are meant for trading, so if you’re going to hold one for an extended period of time, be sure to carefully monitor your position and stop-loss orders are an absolute must. Below, we outline four ETPs for trading natural gas.

TickerETFExposureExpense Ratio
(UGAZ C+)3x Long Natural Gas ETN300%1.65%
(DGAZ C)3x Inverse Natural Gas ETN-300%1.65%
(BOIL B)Ultra DJ-UBS Natural Gas200%0.95%
(KOLD B-)UltraShort DJ-UBS Natural Gas-200%0.95%

Bull and Bear Plays

picture of bull and bear

There are four ETFs that offer leveraged and/or inverse exposure to natural gas futures, offering 2x and 3x exposure to natural gas:

3x Long Natural Gas ETN (UGAZ C+)

This VelocityShares fund applies 300% exposure to the S&P GSCI Natural Gas Index ER Bloomberg Index, which is composed entirely of natural gas futures. More specifically, the index reflects the price levels of the futures contracts on a single commodity as well as the discount or premium obtained by “rolling” hypothetical positions in such contracts forward as they approach delivery.

It is important to note that UGAZ rebalances its theoretical exposure on a daily basis, increasing exposure in response to that day’s gains or reducing exposure in response to that day’s losses. Furthermore, UGAZ is structured as an ETN, meaning it is subject to the credit risk of the issuing institution.

The 3x Inverse Natural Gas ETN (DGAZ C) is the sister fund to UGAZ, offering -300% exposure to the same underlying index.

Ultra DJ-UBS Natural Gas (BOIL B)

ProShares’ BOIL offers 200% exposure to the Dow Jones-UBS Natural Gas Subindex. Like UGAZ, the fund is rebalanced daily and the underlying index utilizes a “rolling” strategy, where as the date for a futures contract comes due, the index replaces such contract with similar contracts with later expirations.

Contracts are rolled over the course of 5 consecutive business days, starting on the 6th business day of the month. Each day, approximately 20% of each futures position that is included in the month’s roll is rolled. Unlike UGAS, BOIL is structured as an ETF, but it does require investors to fill out a K-1 tax form.

The UltraShort DJ-UBS Natural Gas (KOLD B-) is the sister fund to BOIL, offering -200% exposure to the same underlying index.

The Bottom Line

These four fund are great tools for active investors looking to make a bull or bear play on natural gas. We encourage you to take a close look under the hoods of these products, especially considering their different structures, before making any investment decisions. Furthermore, be sure to fully understand the risks associated with trading leveraged and inverse products.

Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

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