(Bloomberg) -- ETF traders just placed a record wager against the big comeback in tech stocks.
As the Nasdaq 100 Index soared late last week, some $658 million was funneled into the ProShares UltraPro Short QQQ exchange-traded fund (ticker SQQQ). That’s the largest-ever inflow for a product that aims to deliver three times the opposite performance of the US benchmark for major technology companies.
The inflow came on Thursday, just as the Nasdaq posted its biggest jump in more than two years on hopes that softer-than-expected inflation data can persuade the Federal Reserve to slow its pace of monetary tightening.
As money flowed to SQQQ, investors pulled $256 million from its bullish leveraged sibling, the ProShares UltraPro QQQ ETF (TQQQ). That was the largest outflow since January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
While the gauge advanced again on Friday, the SQQQ influx constitutes a sizable bet that the tech-led rally will prove fleeting since the ETF is designed to work on an ultra short-term basis.
Futures for the Nasdaq 100 were down 0.6% as of 9:14 a.m. in New York.
“Tools like SQQQ were basically designed for big moves like we’ve been seeing where investors -- and probably more importantly hedge funds -- want to take strong positions counter to big moves,” said Dave Nadig, financial futurist at data provider VettaFi. Large players are likely using it for “quick inverse exposure to express their lack of faith in the rally,” he said.
The bearish inflows boosted assets in SQQQ to about $3.6 billion, more than double their level at the start of 2022. Meanwhile the Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 ETF (QQQ), a vanilla product tracking the Nasdaq 100, received $1.9 billion Thursday. Its assets now total $162 billion, down from $218 billion in the early new year thanks to the interest rate-induced rout in growth shares.
Settlement arrangements for SQQQ and TQQQ mean that flow data arrives with a one-day lag.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.
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