(Bloomberg) -- Feeling nauseous in the Friday market turmoil? Spare a thought for a few wheezy investors in a new exchange-traded note pegged to the price of oil and gas companies.
The MicroSectors Oil & Gas Exploration & Production 3X Leveraged ETN (ticker OILU) launched this month with the goal of tripling the performance of an index tracking energy majors.
But as a new coronavirus strain risks fresh lockdowns and a crash in commodities across the board, OILU plunged as much as 19.6% in New York.
The product’s structure means volatility can be expected, but it’s a decidedly white-knuckle debut. In the past 12 trading days, OILU has moved an average of about 5% up or down every day.
It’s been more like 2.4% for West Texas Intermediate crude by comparison.
Leveraged oil funds were at the heart of the Covid chaos last year, spurring the likes of WisdomTree to shutter products in the aftermath of the price collapse.
For now, OILU remains a small note with just $3.7 million in assets and targets companies in the sector rather than the underlying commodity. But with issuers looking to revive demand for these kind of high-octane ETNs, this week is a reminder of their volatility at market turning points.
The gauge OILU seeks to amplify, the Solactive MicroSectors Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Index, is already about three times as volatile as the S&P 500, based on 30-day historical swings. And the ETN’s own realized swings over the past 10 days has soared to more than 132%.
For niche traders, all this is creating fresh opportunity in the next commodity rally.
“Traders love volatility, which is positively correlated with their ability to profit,” said Ben Johnson, director of global ETF research at Morningstar Inc. “The more squiggly the line chart and the sharper the squiggles, the better, as far as they’re concerned.”
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.