Discovering The Power Of Inverse ETFs: Unlocking Higher Returns For Investors

Have you ever heard of an Inverse ETF?

Updated: June 13, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

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Inverse ETFs offer a unique approach to trading when compared to traditional trading tools. For traders looking to navigate the world of inverse ETFs, this comprehensive guide will provide an in-depth understanding of these interesting and potentially lucrative trading instruments.

We’ll take a look at how inverse ETFs work, the advantages and disadvantages of these investments, and the different types of inverse ETFs available.

Finally, we'll provide some tips for successfully entering the world of inverse ETFs, giving traders an advantage and enabling them to realise their profit potential.

The Basics

What Is An Inverse ETF?

Have you ever heard of an Inverse ETF? Inverse ETFs are a type of exchange-traded fund that offer a way of making money when the market is going down, rather than when it’s going up.

To start, Inverse ETFs are financial instruments that allow you to profit when the market falls.

Inverse exchange traded funds seek to bet against the market by tracking an index in the opposite direction. For example, if the S&P 500 Index falls by 5%, an Inverse ETF may gain 5%. In essence, they are designed to short the market and take advantage of any downward movements.

Inverse ETFs typically use derivatives such as forward contracts and options to achieve their objectives. These derivatives enable the fund to profit when the underlying assets depreciate in value. These contracts are also used to reduce the risk of loss associated with investing in the underlying assets.

Inverse ETFs are a popular way to hedge against market declines, as the fund will benefit from any downturn. They are also popular with traders who want to capitalise on short-term market movements. Additionally, Inverse ETFs can be used in portfolio rebalancing strategies to reduce overall risk.

However, there are some risks associated with investing in an Inverse ETF. These include the risk of loss if the underlying assets appreciate in value. Additionally, there is the risk of illiquidity due to the derivatives used in the fund. Finally, there is the risk that the fund may not track its index accurately, resulting in losses.

Leveraged Inverse ETFs: Taking Advantage of Market Trends

Understanding The Pros & Cons Of Investing In Inverse ETFs

Inverse ETFs have become popular among investors who are looking to gain from market declines, as well as those who simply wish to hedge against a potential downturn.

However, there are several pros and cons associated with using inverse ETFs, which should be considered before entering into such an investment.


There are a number of potential advantages to investing in inverse ETFs, especially for those looking to protect their portfolio from market volatility or to profit from short-term movements in an asset’s price. Some of the most common benefits of investing in inverse ETFs are as follows:

✔️ Access to short selling strategies. With inverse ETFs, investors are able to capitalise on short selling opportunities since the fund can be used to sell an asset when the market is declining.

✔️ Protection against market downturns. By investing in inverse ETFs, investors can protect themselves from the fluctuations of the market. The fund allows the investor to take a short position when the intrinsic value of the underlying asset starts to decline, allowing them to benefit from the declining price of the security and have inverse exposure.

✔️ Diversification. Investing in inverse ETFs can be a great way to diversify an otherwise concentrated portfolio. It can provide investors with access to markets that they may not otherwise be able to access due to restrictions or higher costs.


Despite the potential advantages of using inverse ETFs, there are also a number of potential drawbacks to consider. Several of the more common disadvantages associated with investing in inverse ETFs include the following:

❌️ Leveraged Exposure. Inverse ETFs typically have a higher degree of leverage and carry more risks than traditional ETFs. This can be problematic for those investors who lack an in-depth understanding of the risks and leverage associated with these investments. In addition, leveraged inverse ETFs tend to have higher expense ratios than standard index ETFs

❌️ High Fees. Inverse ETFs generally have larger fees than traditional ETFs and can be more expensive to trade. Thus, investors need to carefully weigh the fees associated with the ETFs in order to determine if the potential returns are worth the associated costs.

❌️ Volatility. These ETFs are subject to higher levels of volatility than traditional ETFs, which can create larger losses if the underlying asset’s value starts to decline.

❌️ Illiquidity. They can be difficult to sell, as there may not be enough buyers to buy the ETFs. As a result, investors may find themselves in a position of being unable to cash out of their position at the time they need to.

Ruling The Market With Inverse ETFs: A Power Tool For Investors

Evaluating Different Types Of Inverse ETFs

Short Inverse ETFs

Short inverse ETFs are designed to generate a return that moves in the opposite direction of the underlying index or security. These ETFs use complex financial instruments, such as futures and swaps, to produce a return that will be the exact opposite of the target index or security.

Short inverse ETFs are often used as a hedge against market downturns, as they are able to generate a return that is the exact opposite of what is happening in the market. Over the long-term, these ETFs can provide investors with a diversified portfolio that can help mitigate losses from a bear market.

Leveraged Inverse ETFs

Leveraged inverse ETFs are a type of ETF that uses financial instruments such as futures and options to produce a return that is 2 or 3 times the opposite of the underlying index or security.

Leveraged inverse ETFs are designed to generate large returns over a short period of time, allowing investors to profit from even the smallest market movements.

The downside to leveraged inverse ETFs is that they are not suitable for long-term investments and can be subject to large losses in periods of high volatility. This type of ETF is best used as a short-term tool to take advantage of short-term market movements, rather than as a long-term investment strategy.

Inverse Currency ETFs

Inverse currency ETFs are a type of ETF that allows investors to bet on the value of a currency in relation to other currencies. These ETFs invest in futures contracts which track the performance of a particular currency, while betting against its value in relation to other currencies.

Inverse currency ETFs are a useful tool for investors looking to bet on the relative strength of different currencies, as they are able to take advantage of both positive and negative market conditions. This type of ETF is best used as a short-term trading strategy rather than a long-term investment tool.

What Is The Best Inverse ETF For Your Investment Strategy?

Long-Term Investment Strategies

For long-term investment strategies, the ProShares Short S&P 500 (SH) is an excellent inverse ETF. SH tracks the opposite performance of the S&P 500, seeking to provide investors with the inverse return of the index. This inverse ETF is well-suited for investors that want to potentially capitalise on a bear market, as it is designed to provide gains when the S&P 500 declines.

Short-Term Investment Strategies

For short-term trading strategies, a few options stand out. The ProShares UltraShort S&P 500 (SDS) is a leveraged ETF designed to achieve twice the inverse performance of the S&P 500.

This ETF is designed to provide traders with an opportunity to gain from short-term market declines.

Another leveraged option is the ProShares UltraPro Short S&P 500 (SPXU) ETF, which seeks to provide an inverse return three times the inverse of the S&P 500.

Diversification Strategies

For investors looking to diversify their portfolios, there are a variety of options available. Two of the most popular inverse ETFs are the ProShares UltraPro Short QQQ (PSQ) and the ProShares Short Dow 30 (DOG).

The PSQ tracks the opposite performance of the NASDAQ-100 Index, while the DOG tracks the opposite performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Both ETFs are designed to provide diversification away from traditional index investing that can potentially help to hedge against market downturns.

Techniques For Profiting With Inverse ETFs

Let's take a look at some techniques for profiting with inverse ETFs that you can use to get the most out of your investments.

1. Choose The Right ETF

When choosing an inverse ETF, it's important to select one that is properly diversified and has a reasonable track record of performance. For example, if you are looking for an inverse ETF to trade on the S&P 500, make sure you select one that is based on a broad index and not just one market sector. Also, be sure to look at the fund's expense ratio and other fees to make sure you are getting the most value for your money.

2. Use Stop-Loss Orders

Stop-loss orders are an important risk management tool that can be used when trading inverse ETFs. The idea is that if an ETF moves too far in an unfavourable direction, a stop-loss order will automatically sell it before it loses too much value. That way, you can avoid incurring too much risk and protect your profits.

3. Monitor The Market Trends

Finally, it's important to monitor the market trends when trading with inverse ETFs. Events like earnings releases, new regulations, and geopolitical developments can all have an effect on the price of the ETF. As such, it's important to stay up to date on these developments so you can make well-informed decisions about when to buy and sell the ETF.


In conclusion, trading with inverse ETFs can be risky, but it can also be profitable if done right. By following the tips above, you can reduce the risks and increase your chances of making a lucrative return on your investments.

With inverse ETFs providing a great way to diversify your investments and make them more resilient to market pressures, there has never been a better time to invest in these unique investment vehicles.

Whether you are looking to improve your existing portfolio or wanting to open up a new trading account, inverse ETFs make an excellent choice to achieve your investment goals. Inverse ETFs are available on almost all major stock exchanges, so finding a broker to help you invest in them should not be an issue.

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