Industry Updates

Aussies use American ETFs to punt on oil prices, Stake finds

David Tuckwell

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If you thought giving Aussies access to the full gamut of American ETFs would result in lifelong wealth building decisions – think again.

Australians are using their fintech-enabled access to American exchanges to take a punt on oil prices and VIX futures, new data from discount broker Stake suggests.

Among most age groups, the most popular US-listed ETFs are leveraged oil and gas products. Their popularity is particularly pronounced in the crucial 45 – 65 age bracket.

Most traded ETF by Age group

18-24 years old: S&P Oil & Gas Exp. & Prod. Bull 3X Shares (GUSH)

25-34 years old: Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VOO)

35-44 years old: ProShares Ultra Dow30 (DDM)

45-55 years old: S&P Oil & Gas Exp. & Prod. Bull 3X Shares (GUSH)

55-64 years old: ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures (UVXY)

65+ years old:   Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VOO)

The most popular ETF overall was the Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VOO). VOO’s popularity came in spite of the fact that iShares S&P 500 ETF (IVV), a near-identical product, is already available on Australian exchanges. Vanguard's Total Stock Market ETF also featured, despite trading on the ASX already.

Beyond these two Vanguard products the other most popular funds were all gambling devices

Most actively traded ETFs 

  1. Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VOO) +3.06% in July

  2. 3 x Inverse Natural Gas (DGAZ) +13.35%

  3. S&P Oil & Gas Exp. & Prod. Bull 3X Shares (GUSH) -31.82%

  4. Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTI) +2.88%

  5. 3x Long Crude Oil (UWT) -11.53%

The data suggests that 3x leveraged ETFs, currently banned in Australia by corporate cop ASIC, might be quite popular with Australians.

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