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Gold ETFs, JNUG & NUGT, Reduce Leverage As Derivatives Market Gets Wonky

Leveraged ETF specialist, Direxion, was forced to change course on the objective of several of its funds following the intense volatility in the equity markets and carnage in derivatives.

Both the Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index Bull 3X ETF (NUGT) and the Direxion Daily Junior Gold Miners Index Bull 3X ETF (JNUG) will now reduce exposure to just two-times their underlying indices. The liquidity crunch has made obtaining triple leverage too costly in the current marketplace, so the company will begin dialing back the leverage starting in May.

Leveraged commodities ETFs have gotten crushed in the latest downturn with many being forced to close due to extreme losses and/or early redemption triggers. Several popular 2X ETNs from UBS were forced to shutter (or will be shuttering soon) after losses in some especially hard hit sector resulted in year-to-date losses of more than 90% in some cases.

Gold miners gotten hammered earlier in March when the current bear market started accelerating, but have since managed to claw back some of those losses. NUGT and JNUG have been able to hang on thanks to previously larger asset bases to work with despite year-to-date losses of 74% and 93%, respectively.

Nearly 30 different leveraged or inverse exchange-traded products have announced closures over the past couple of weeks due to the bear market.

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