NEW YORK (MainStreet) Gold is arguably the most volatile investment of all the widely-held financial instruments on the planet. Its recent tame nature with price variability cut nearly in half over the past year is little comfort for those who know the precious metal's history.
But wildcat investors believe that volatility generates profit.
Without dramatic cliff-diving prices, how is an investor supposed to buy on the dips and sell on the peaks? If wild rides take you to big finishes, perhaps the thing to do is take gold's volatility and multiply it by three.
That's the concept of two exchange-traded funds (ETFs) offered by Direxion Investments. The firm's Daily Gold Bull 3X Shares (BAR) and Daily Gold Bear 3X (BARS) funds take the measure of your optimism or pessimism regarding gold prices and triples it.
The warning on the prospectus should read, "Closed track, professional driver." These funds are supercharged with volatility. Leveraged for 300% of the daily performance up or down these ETFs will magnify market movement in the blink of an eye and that's before you factor in the 1.56% net fund expenses.
And notice the words "daily performance." This is not your grandfather's buy-and-hold strategy.
"With 3X ETF exposure in either direction, BAR and BARS provide a bold, yet convenient, way to seek to benefit from the price movements in gold," said Brian Jacobs, President of Direxion Investments, in a release. "Of course, traders have to get the direction right, but these ETFs are another potentially valuable tool that we offer traders as they seek to achieve better outcomes from their trading strategies."
Jacobs's terminology is carefully chosen: "bold," "traders," "potentially" and particularly "get the direction right."
Direxion lays out the investment strategy:
"Gold and gold futures are often considered a play on economic, political, or currency events. Many investors think the decline in gold prices that started last year will continue, and that gold may be susceptible to a severe drawdown similar to the period from 1988 to 1999. There is sentiment from others that gold is still near the bottom, and it is time to buy low."
Got that? Your bet is a high conviction play on one direction or the other.
If you are a wily, fearless trader who is an "all-in" player with a firm belief that gold will skyrocket, or plummet, within the next 24 hours these ETFs could be for you. But as with any risky endeavor, somebody should get you to sign an unconditional release form acknowledging that you are solely responsible for your own actions.
--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet