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Guggenheim Exits Leveraged and Inverse ETF Business

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Guggenheim Investments recently announced the closure of nine exchange-traded funds. The last day of trading will be this Friday, March 15.

Liquidation values will be determined on March 21 and will reflect expenses encountered in the closing of the ETFs. It is therefore imperative that shareholders follow the "Five Steps to Avoid Disaster When Your ETF Closes" at Invest With An Edge and sell holdings by that date.

The liquidating funds are:
  1. Guggenheim 2x S&P 500 (RSU)
  2. Guggenheim Inverse 2x S&P 500 (RSW)
  3. Guggenheim ABC High Dividend (ABCS)
  4. Guggenheim Airline ETF (FAA)
  5. Guggenheim MSCI EAFE Equal Weight (EWEF)
  6. Guggenheim S&P MidCap 400 Equal Weight (EWMD)
  7. Guggenheim S&P SmallCap 600 Equal Weight (EWSM)
  8. Wilshire 4500 Completion (WXSP)
  9. Wilshire 5000 Total Market (WFVK)

The closing of Guggenheim 2x S&P 500 and Guggenheim Inverse 2x S&P 500 marks the exit of Guggenheim (and the former Rydex Funds ETF lineup) from the leveraged and inverse ETF business.

Guggenheim is now completely ceding the space to ProShares and Direxion. This is significant because Rydex was first to market a leveraged fund back in 1993 as I note at Invest With An Edge with the introduction of Rydex Nova (RYNVX)

At one time, Rydex had 14 leveraged and inverse ETFs, closing all but two of them in May 2010.

Rydex has gone through a couple of ownership changes during the past few years, and all Rydex ETFs were migrated to the Guggenheim brand a year ago.

The mutual fund space is a different story, where Guggenheim still employs the Rydex brand. Today, there are two dozen leveraged and inverse mutual funds adorned with the Rydex name.

The closing of Guggenheim Airline ETF comes somewhat as a surprise. Volume is decent (and has picked up significantly the past month), assets continue to grow since the closing was announced (and now stand at $23 million), and the ETF's only competitor closed in October 2011. Perhaps investors do not realize the fund is closing this week, but they will soon know.

The Wilshire 4500 Completion and Wilshire 5000 Total Market do not officially include "Guggenheim" as part of their names, as they're called "Wilshire" ETFs instead. The reason for this was never made clear, but the closings of WXSP and WFVK leave only Wilshire Micro Cap (WMCR) and Wilshire U.S REIT (WREI) in that predicament.

These nine funds will bring the year-to-date closings count to 28, which is on a pace to exceed last year's record of 102 closures.

At the time of publication, Rowland had no positions in any of the securities mentioned; no positions in any of the companies or ETF sponsors mentioned; and no income, revenue or other compensation (either directly or indirectly) received from, or on behalf of, any of the companies or ETF sponsors mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Ron Rowland is the founder and president of Capital Cities Asset Management, a fee-based registered investment adviser in Austin, Texas. He is also the founder and publisher of Invest With An Edge and All Star Investor, where he has been providing market commentary and active investment advice since 1991. Opinions expressed in this article should not be considered personal recommendations to buy or sell any security.

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