The first quarter of 2018 was the most volatile quarter in recent years. After booming in January, the global stock market recorded the first quarterly loss in two years, suggesting that one of the longest ever-global bull run might end. The MSCI World Index, which was up 8% in January, suddenly evaporated and declined 1.7% in the first quarter.
Most of the decline came from the fallout of American stocks, which slipped into correction following interest rate jitters, fears of escalating import tariff dispute between the United States and China and a selloff in the tech sector. Additionally, fears of a global trade war and deepening turmoil in the White House added to the woes. This took investors away from equities and reduces holdings of U.S. stocks to the lowest in nearly two years, according to a Reuters poll.
The risk-off trade led to smooth trading in commodities that has put an end to the commodity bear market that began in 2011. Meanwhile, the fixed income space was out of investors’ favor thanks to the twin attacks of tax cut and a two-year budget deal. The two-year yields climbed 38.3 bps and 10-year yields jumped 33.2 bps .
Given higher volatility, inverse or leveraged inverse ETFs gained immense popularity as investors embraced these products for big gains in a short span, though these involve a great deal of risk when compared to traditional products. These products either create an inverse long/short position or leveraged inverse long/short position in the underlying index through the use of swaps, options, future contracts and other financial instruments.
Below we have highlighted five such ETFs that have piled up huge returns in the first quarter of 2018. These funds will continue to be investors’ darlings provided the sentiments remain the same.
Direxion Daily Brazil Bull 3x Shares (BRZU – Free Report) – Up 27.2%
Brazilian stocks were the biggest winners in the first quarter thanks to a turnaround in the economy, which is showing signs of life on lower interest rates and increased investments. The ETF creates a three times (3x or 300%) long position in the MSCI Brazil 25/50 Index. It has amassed about $154.2 million in its asset base while charges 95 bps in fees per year from investors. Volume is solid as it exchanges around 534,000 shares a day on average.