Fortunately for U.S. investors, most major U.S. stocks are relatively insulated from the Russia-Ukraine conflict. But while S&P 500 index funds are holding up relatively well amid broad global market volatility, Direxion announced Monday it's shutting down one of the most popular Russian stock ETFs.
What Happened? Direxion will be closing and liquidating the Direxion Daily Russia Bull 2X Shares RUSL fund, citing "increased market volatility and restrictions on Russian securities."
Direxion said the RUSL fund will cease trading on March 11, and warned investors it may continue to experience large swings in price relative to net asset value in the meantime.
Why It's Important: The leveraged RUSL fund was designed to provide 2x exposure to the MVIS Russia index. Following another 40.9% drop on Tuesday morning, the RUSL fund is now down 79.5% year-to-date.
Direxion said investors who currently own shares of the RUSL fund can choose to sell their shares on the open market before March 11 or hold them until their liquidation date on March 18. Starting on the liquidation date, Direxion will distribute cash pro rata to all remaining shareholders and the fund will terminate.
Related Link: 6 ETFs To Watch As Russia-Ukraine Crisis Heats Up
Benzinga's Take: The RUSL fund was hit particularly hard by the sell-off in Russian stocks due to its leveraged nature, but other Russia-exposed funds are also taking a beating in recent weeks. The VanEck Russia ETF RSX is down 64.5% year-to-date, while the Ishares Msci Russia ETF ERUS is down 63.5%.
At the same time, other popular Direxion leveraged ETFs have benefitted from the Russia-Ukraine conflict and subsequent international sanctions imposed on Russia. Surging oil and gold prices have the Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index Bull 2X Shares NUGT up 19.3% in 2022, while the Direxion Daily Energy Bull 2x Shares ERX is up 64% year-to-date.
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