Finding a Way to Profit from Higher Interest Rates

| About: ProShares UltraShort (TBT)

Here is a trade we can work for a long time.

TBT, which is a blend of Treasuries that produce a 20 year maturity, moves higher with interest rates. It is the "ultra short" version of the bond price, but seems to be a good proxy for 10 times the interest rate. As of Monday it is at 48.50, which is almost exactly 10 times the 4.8% interest rate of a 20 year bond. It was 70 in early 2008 (when it was created) which was similar to 10x the interest rate for a 20 year note at that time. It is not really pegged to that rate, but should move proportionately.

I think we can all agree that interest rates will move higher from here. So, I suggest buying the 38 June call and selling the 58 June call. This gives a 20% upside between now and June on a $9.70 investment, which means a better than 100% return if interest rates move over 5% by that time. I just got done discussing using a put to protect the downside, creating a collar, but there is no point in this case. The price never got below 38 in the crisis and it is hard to see lower interest rates than what we just had....forever.

I like using options for any of the "Ultra" or amplified short ETFs because they all use Swaps and the futures market to build their positions. Trading costs and other futures market ineffiiciencies cause the price of such ETFs to deteriorate over time. Using options forces a repricing of the underlying as the traded options expire. This manages (does not eliminate) the problem with short ETFs.

Here are the tickers:

Buy June 38 TBTFL Call for 11.00
Sell June 58 TBTFF Call for 1.30

Net Cost = $9.70 / contract

I think we will be able to keep this trade on, rolling forward and upward, for the next 2-3 years as interest rates climb back into "normal" territory with the 20 year maturity Treasury average getting back towards 6%. If inflation explodes because the Fed screws up with all the liquidity in the system, this is an even better trade and those levels, and beyond, come much faster.

Disclosure: Long TBT June call options

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