ProFunds has filed registration statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission to offer 12 new leveraged exchange-traded funds, the first ETFs to apply this strategy.

The four bullish ETFs would double the market's upside, while four bearish ETFs would deliver the opposite of the market's movement. Another four "ultra" bearish funds would produce twice the inverse of the market's advancements.

The funds would be able to achieve these returns by using futures, options and other derivatives, and they would be based on four indexes: the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, the Nasdaq 100, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P MidCap 400 index. All 12 of the strategies mirror those in the leveraged mutual funds that ProFunds currently offers.

"There are financial advisers, institutional investors and hedge funds who employ these strategies to hedge market exposure," Morningstar Analyst Dan Culloton told MarketWatch. However, many advisers warn individual investors against putting their money in such so-called "high-octane" funds, as they magnify market movements.

(c) 2006 Money Management Executive and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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