With interest rates near 0%, the only direction they can go is up. And as anyone who has ever read a story about bonds knows, when interest rates go up, bond prices fall. When that will happen is anyone’s guess. But ProShares is getting ready for that day. ProShares timed the market perfectly last time by launching a series of ETFs to short the equities markets just in time to capitalize on the crash that started in October 2007. Now, they are priming the market for the popping of the bond bubble.
The ProShares Short 20+ Year Treasury ETF (TBF), a fund designed to provide short exposure to long-term U.S. Treasury bonds, launched Thursday on the NYSE Arca. This ETF will try to match the inverse performance of the Barclays Capital 20+ Year U.S. Treasury Index each day. The Barclays Capital 20+ Year U.S. Treasury Index trackes the performance of U.S. Treasury bonds with maturities of 20 years or greater.
ProShares says it’s launching this in “direct response to strong investor demand for a single beta2 short treasury fund.” I believe them. The inverse bond ETFs will soon become very hot.
Currently, ProShares offers two bond funds that offer a 200% inverse move of two other indexes. The ProShares UltraShort 7-10 Year Treasury ETF (PST) gives double the inverse return of the Barclays Capital 7-10 Year U.S. Treasury Index, while the ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury ETF (TBT) does the same for the Barclays Capital 20+ Year U.S. Treasury Index. All three charge an expense ratio of 0.95%
Of course, if negative 200% is a little too tame for you, Direxion offers short Treasury funds that seek an inverse 300% return to their tracking indexes. The Daily 10-Year Treasury Bear 3x Shares (TYO) and the Daily 30-Year Treasury Bear 3x Shares (TMV) also charge a fee of 0.95%.
The new ProShares bond ETF stands out from this crowd in that it’s the only one to offer a 1-to-1 inverse ratio, just a mild negative 100% of its tracking index.
TheStreet.com says the recent uproar over leveraged ETFs has led UBS and Ameriprise to stop selling the funds.