Mutual Fund Resource Center

Current Shareholder Information


Compounding and the Effect of Leverage

It is important to understand the effects of compounding when investing in any mutual fund, especially funds which use leverage as part of their investment strategy. The following simple examples provide an illustration:

  • Example A: Assume you invest $100 in Fund A, a typical index fund that seeks to match the performance of its underlying index. If the index increases 10% on day one, the value of your shares in Fund A would be expected to increase $10 (10% of $100) to $110. The next day, if the index decreases 10%, the value of your shares in Fund A would be expected to decrease $11 (10% of $110) to $99.
  • Example B: Assume you invested $100 in Fund B, a fund that seeks to return 200% of the performance of the same index. On day one, the value of your shares in Fund B would be expected to increase $20 (20% of $100) to $120. On day two, however, the value of your shares in the leveraged fund would be expected to decrease $24 (20% of $120) to $96.

Because of the effect of compounding, in each case the value of your investment declined even though the index went up 10% on day one and down 10% on day two. However, the effect of compounding was more pronounced when combined with leverage (Example B). In addition, because of the effect of compounding, the performance of a leveraged fund is more likely to match the performance of its underlying index on a daily basis than over an extended period of time.



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