Tracking ability of leveraged and inverse exchange traded funds can be very important to investors looking for a dependable return. If the investor wants to put their money on a certain index they feel strongly about, they expect their investment vehicle to track that return appropriately. Over the years, we have seen tremendous growth in the exchange traded fund industry. In 2006, leveraged and inverse funds were introduced to the market, allowing investors to take leveraged and directional trades on indices. These investment vehicles can be traded as easily as any stock, and therefore need some attention. Since any novice investor can access and trade these funds, they need to be aware of the risks they are taking. In this study, I test whether the ProShares S&P tracking leveraged and inverse exchange traded funds track their appropriate index multiple as promised. I did this by running regressions on each fund against the appropriate multiple of their underlying indices. I did this for funds of different market capitalization, for different holding periods, and with different amounts of leverage, to compare how these funds track in different conditions. I found that the large cap funds tend to track the best, with the small cap funds tracking the worst. I also find that tracking error tends to increase with longer holding periods. I find that the distribution of excess returns becomes less normal over longer holding periods, and begins to flatten out and widen. There does not seem to be a concrete conclusion as to whether or not the amount of leverage affects the tracking ability of the funds. I end up with mixed results when comparing amounts of leverage by model fit and by tracking error. Direction also does not seem to play any role in the tracking ability of these funds.


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Thesis Completion





Gilkeson, James H.


Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.S.B.A.)


College of Business Administration

Degree Program



Business Administration -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Business Administration







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

Included in

Finance Commons