Warning: Do NOT hold the TQQQ Nasdaq ETF for the Long-Term
Let us be clear, we are discussing the largest casino on the planet earth right now. The 3x Levered, ProShares UltraPro QQQ should come with a surgeon general’s public warning. All one has to do is look at the average trading volume – nearly $5.5B a day for this ETF. It makes the Wynn casino empire’s annual revenues of $6.6B look like child’s play.
We are talking about a borderline scam here? It’s a mathematical fact that this beast is NOT long for this world. Sustainability is the question. It’s a high stakes game of musical chairs, DON’T get caught holding the bag.
TQQQ Total Assets
The TQQQ ETF has lost nearly -35% since the Nasdaq’s September 2nd perch, yet the fund’s total assets have only decreased -16.1% in the same period. This difference is because the TQQQ has seen net-inflows throughout the month of September, the idiots have been buying the dips on this slot-machine with BOTH hands.
TQQQ: “ProShares UltraPro QQQ is an exchange-traded fund incorporated in the USA. The Fund seeks investment results which correspond to three times (300%) the daily performance of the NASDAQ-100 Index.”
The popular TQQQ ETF is commonly referred to as a 3x levered version of the Nasdaq. Let’s see how this has played out in action…
Returns: QQQ Nasdaq ETF vs. TQQQ UltraPro 3x Nasdaq ETF
% Return Today (9/24)
% Return Past Month
Little more than 3x, but close enough…
% Return Since 2010
% Return Since the February 2020 Top
“The scary part of TQQQ is a 10-year chart gives off the impression that a long-term investment is safe.”
What’s Going on?
We must think about the math. If an investment starts at $100 and loses -5%, you are at $95. To get back to $100, you need appreciation of +5.26%. However, if that investment is 3x leveraged, you lose -15%, and instead are at $85. To get back to $100 in this scenario, you now need appreciation of +17.6%. Notice that the 17.6% needed is greater than 5.26% x 3.
Now, let’s take is up a notch…
Scenario A: Stock XYZ is a non-leveraged stock that falls -33%. The stock needs a +49.25% appreciation to get back to even. $100 would have gone to $67 and a after a +49.25% rally, $67 becomes $100 again.
Scenario A (but 3x leveraged): Stock 3XYZ is a 3x levered version of the same stock. When stock XYZ falls -33%, stock 3XYZ falls -99%. This stock needs +9900% appreciation to get back to even! $100 would have gone to $1 and after a +147.75% (3 x 49.25%) rally, $1 becomes just $2.47!
“The Nasdaq 100 Index has NOT seen a -33% drawdown since TQQQ was created in 2010. Once it does, TQQQ’s prior high is likely to NEVER be reached again.”
DANGER: TQQQ UltraPro Nasdaq ETF
ANY financial product that is levered 3x is NOT meant to be held for the long-term. The 10,693% rally in the 3x levered TQQQ Nasdaq ETF from 2010 to the recent peak may NEVER be replicated. The largest drawdown the TQQQ 3x Nasdaq ETF has EVER suffered was -73% from February to March 2020. Although, the -73% TQQQ drawdown was painful, a recovery to new highs was attainable. However, if the Nasdaq had fallen just a few more percentage points and the TQQQ drawdown went past -90%, a recovery back to the highs would have been nearly impossible. The Nasdaq 100 Index has NOT seen a -33% drawdown since TQQQ was created in 2010. Once it does, TQQQ’s prior high is likely to NEVER be reached again.
Long-term Safety Façade
TQQQ looks great on a 10-year chart, but there is no such thing as a free-lunch in finance. TQQQ’s +6,410.9% outperformance over the Nasdaq 100 since the ETF’s inception in 2010 will not be repeated for a very long time, if ever. This was only possible because since the TQQQ ETF was created, the Nasdaq has not seen over a -33% drawdown… yet.
Keep in mind, the Nasdaq fell -76% from the Dot-Com bubble’s peak to trough. If this were to happen today, the TQQQ would be a penny stock and the 8 billion dollars invested in the fund would be looking around, scratching its head, wondering what just happened.
Unfortunately, the probability is high that inexperienced retail investors lose over -90% of their investment in TQQQ and do not realize they may never get back to an even P/L, regardless of what the Nasdaq 100 Index itself does.
Bottom line: PLEASE do NOT hold the TQQQ for the long-term. If we see anything near -35% drawdown in the Nasdaq, new highs in TQQQ are nearly impossible, the math proves all 3x leveraged ETFs must be traded NOT owned. The scary part of TQQQ is a 10-year chart gives off the impression that a long-term investment is safe…