August is living up to its reputation as a tough month in which to be long stocks.
With Thursday's 1.4 percent tumble, the S&P 500 is down more than three percent since the start of the month and nearly two percent in just the past five sessions.
Related: Seasonal Trends: Three ETFs to Own in August.
Eager bulls may find some comfort in knowing that August is half over, but they would do well to not get too cozy. In terms of performance, September is nothing to write home about. In fact, September is the worst month of the year for the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite, according to the Stock Trader's Almanac.
Fortunately, there are a few leveraged ETFs investors can use over the coming weeks for rapid, and yes, large potential gains. The following duo looks especially promising.
Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X Shares (NYSE: NUGT)
No, that is not an error on your monitor. The Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X Shares is really up more than 55 percent in just the past five days. NUGT is being reverse split 1-for-10 on August 20.
If the ETF keeps its current pace up, it could be trading at $140, $150 or higher after the split. Reason to consider: The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDX), the ETF NUGT is the triple-leveraged equivalent of, is not only soaring itself, but has also broken through important technical resistance that should encourage fresh buying. GDX could easily run another $5 before seeing its next legitimate resistance area.
ProShares UltraShort Financials (NYSE: SKF)
Financial services has been of the year's top-performing sectors. So strong have been banks, brokers and insurance providers that the sector is close to toppling technology for the largest sector weight in the S&P 500.
The sector's previous success could make it ripe for a pullback and some recent, negative headlines pertaining to J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), one of the largest holdings in scores of bank ETFs, could prompt some near-term downside. Including SKF here is not a medium- or long-term bear call on financials, but it is hard to envision the sector remaining durable through a broader market pullback.
SKF is close to moving above its 50-day moving average, which could stoke upside to the $24-$25 area. The fund is the double-leveraged inverse equivalent of the iShares Financial Sector ETF (NYSE: IYF).
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Disclosure: Author is long SKF.
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