2008 is the year of the ultra shorts. There is a good article by Eric Oberg in The Street.Com regarding friction and other issues with the ultra ETF's.
I won't repeat any of his observations, but note that the winning strategy is to go short the ultra long and vice versa. Or at least that would have been a winner last year.
Of course, that lets the little guy out who can't borrow shares or is doing it in his IRA. I like the sound of it, also -- Short the Ultra Short to go long and Short the Ultra Long to go short. Would have been a huge improvement over buying and holding these over the course of a year.
A better idea for amateurs would be to avoid leverage.
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