In January, UBS launched the UBS E-TRACS S&P 500 Gold Hedged Index ETN (SPGH), an exchange traded note that’s designed to give investors exposure to both the S&P 500 Index and to Gold COMEX futures.
Jonathan Boos, CAIA and director in the equity derivatives business at UBS, says the ETN came about largely as the result of recent market events. [Differences Between ETFs and ETNs.]
“If you take a look at what’s happened in the last couple of years, the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has tripled and we have witnessed the largest fiscal stimulus since the great depression, so it is natural for investors to be concerned about future inflation,” Boos says. “Gold has often been considered a hedge for inflation.”
The S&P 500 Gold Hedged Index simulates the combined returns of investing equal dollar amounts in the S&P 500 and COMEX gold futures contracts.
If you believe that both gold and the S&P 500 will be positive, you’d likely find SPGH to be an appealing product. Investors who want exposure to the S&P 500 Index and exposure to gold can get both in SPGH; if you invest $100 in the ETN, you’re getting $100 worth of exposure to both gold futures and the S&P 500 Index. [How Metals ETFs Changed Investing.]
The index has a monthly rebalancing mechanism; for example, if after one month the S&P 500 Index is up 10% and the gold futures are down 5%, then the Index is up 5%, but rebalanced to equal weights in each asset for the following month. [5 Ways to Fight Inflation With ETFs.]
Over the long-term, a negative correlation exists between the dollar and the price of gold, as gold is priced in dollars. In other words, the weaker the dollar, the stronger the price of gold. Investors use gold and other precious metals as a hedge against inflation. The threat of inflation and dollar weakness has investors on the hunt for real assets, and this ETN may fit the bill for such investors. [Gold Miner ETFs Quiet, But Maybe Not for Long.]
E-TRACS are Exchange Traded Access Securities, traded on the NYSEArca.
Max Chen and Heather Hayes contributed to this article.