With the uncertainties of the long weekend behind us and the U.S. markets up slightly on news out of China, I’m adding, as promised last week, the ProShares Short S&P 500 ETF (SH) to my Jubak Picks portfolio to provide some downside protection in a market that still looks to be trending lower. Yesterday, January 19, when I posted this buy on my paid site JubakAM.com the ETF was down slightly today to close at $45.18.
I don’t think we’ve found a bottom yet in oil prices, a big driver of the market’s retreat in the first part of 2016, and I think we’re looking at a sour season of reports of falling earnings in the fourth quarter. Guidance for the first quarter looks likely to be a negative as well.
I don’t think we’re headed into a replay of 2007-2009, but things could get scary (if they’re not already.). One of the advantages of putting on a short position or two at this point is that a sense of having down something NOW to protect your portfolio can help relieve the pressure to do something really stupid in a panic later when the market is actually close to a bottom. Adding a short position with an intention of liquidating it when the market turns, also in effect raises the cash available to you for buying when you start to see a bottom and some bargains.
This ETF uses derivatives to track the S&P and to create a inverse of the index. (So it’s supposed to go up when the index goes down. The ETF was up 8.29% for 2016 to January 18.) With $1.93 billion in assets it’s reasonably liquid but not so liquid that it attracts the biggest of the big computer trading programs.
I’m going to continue to poke around on the short side and see if anything else looks attractive enough to recommend for this portfolio.