Last but not least in our series on the sector-specific exchange-traded funds (ETFs) offered by SPDR is SPDR Select Sector Utilities ETF (XLU). The utilities sector of the S&P 500, where this fund focuses, includes companies involved in electric utilities, gas utilities, energy traders and similar businesses.
More than most industries, utilities companies tend to carry large debt loads. As a result, interest rates impact them more heavily. Due partly to this situation, the sector has experienced some turmoil this year. XLU also may experience more ups and downs than other sector funds due to investing in fewer companies.
So far this year, XLU has underperformed the S&P 500 greatly as fears of a Fed rate hike likely hurt investor sentiment towards utilities. The fund is down 9.76% in 2015. It does, however, pay a higher yield, 3.5%, than most sector funds and it has about the same low expense ratio, 0.14%, as its peers. XLU has about $5.6 billion in assets under management.
This fund invests 59.8% of its assets in its top 10 holdings, making it less diversified than many other ETFs. The largest holdings are NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE), 8.78%; Duke Energy Corp. (DUK), 8.34%; Southern Co. (SOJA), 7.90%; Dominion Resources Inc. (D), 7.52%; and American Electric Power Company Inc. (AEP), 5.29%.
People always will spend money on utilities. When that stability is again reflected by investment in the utilities sector, SPDR Select Sector Utilities ETF (XLU) may be worth a look.
I’ll highlight another fund for your consideration next week,.
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In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter column from last week about a consumer-based ETF. I also invite you to comment in the space provided below.