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Is SPDR S&P Transportation ETF (XTN) a Strong ETF Right Now?

Designed to provide broad exposure to the Industrials ETFs category of the market, the SPDR S&P Transportation ETF (XTN) is a smart beta exchange traded fund launched on 01/26/2011.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

Market cap weighted indexes were created to reflect the market, or a specific segment of the market, and the ETF industry has traditionally been dominated by products based on this strategy.

A good option for investors who believe in market efficiency, market cap weighted indexes offer a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns.

On the other hand, some investors who believe that it is possible to beat the market by superior stock selection opt to invest in another class of funds that track non-cap weighted strategies--popularly known as smart beta.

By attempting to pick stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance, non-cap weighted indexes are based on certain fundamental characteristics, or a combination of such.

Methodologies like equal-weighting, one of the simplest options out there, fundamental weighting, and volatility/momentum based weighting are all choices offered to investors in this space, but not all of them can deliver superior returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

The fund is managed by State Street Global Advisors, and has been able to amass over $832.29 million, which makes it one of the average sized ETFs in the Industrials ETFs. XTN, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the S&P Transportation Select Industry Index.

The S&P Transportation Select Industry Index represents the transportation segment of the S&P Total Market Index.

Cost & Other Expenses

For ETF investors, expense ratios are an important factor when considering a fund's return; in the long-term, cheaper funds actually have the ability to outperform their more expensive cousins if all other things remain the same.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.35%, making it one of the least expensive products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.08%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

ETFs offer diversified exposure and thus minimize single stock risk, but it is still important to delve into a fund's holdings before investing. Most ETFs are very transparent products and many disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation in the Industrials sector - about 100% of the portfolio.

Taking into account individual holdings, Avis Budget Group Inc. (CAR) accounts for about 4.05% of the fund's total assets, followed by Arcbest Corporation (ARCB) and Saia Inc. (SAIA).

The top 10 holdings account for about 26.53% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has lost about -6.37% so far this year and is up about 21.47% in the last one year (as of 01/19/2022). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $69.85 and $98.74.

The fund has a beta of 1.31 and standard deviation of 29.45% for the trailing three-year period, which makes XTN a high risk choice in this particular space. With about 50 holdings, it has more concentrated exposure than peers.


SPDR S&P Transportation ETF is an excellent option for investors seeking to outperform the Industrials ETFs segment of the market. There are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider as well.

IShares U.S. Transportation ETF (IYT) tracks Dow Jones Transportation Average Index and the U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS) tracks U.S. Global Jets Index. IShares U.S. Transportation ETF has $1.76 billion in assets, U.S. Global Jets ETF has $3.46 billion. IYT has an expense ratio of 0.41% and JETS charges 0.60%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Industrials ETFs.

Bottom Line

To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center.

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SPDR S&P Transportation ETF (XTN): ETF Research Reports
Avis Budget Group, Inc. (CAR): Free Stock Analysis Report
iShares U.S. Transportation ETF (IYT): ETF Research Reports
ArcBest Corporation (ARCB): Free Stock Analysis Report
Saia, Inc. (SAIA): Free Stock Analysis Report
U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS): ETF Research Reports
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