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Should You Invest in the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU)?

The Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) was launched on 12/16/1998, and is a passively managed exchange traded fund designed to offer broad exposure to the Utilities - Broad segment of the equity market.

An increasingly popular option among retail and institutional investors, passively managed ETFs offer low costs, transparency, flexibility, and tax efficiency; they are also excellent vehicles for long term investors.

Investor-friendly, sector ETFs provide many options to gain low risk and diversified exposure to a broad group of companies in particular sectors. Utilities - Broad is one of the 16 broad Zacks sectors within the Zacks Industry classification. It is currently ranked 13, placing it in bottom 19%.

Index Details

The fund is sponsored by State Street Global Advisors. It has amassed assets over $12.24 billion, making it the largest ETF attempting to match the performance of the Utilities - Broad segment of the equity market. XLU seeks to match the performance of the Utilities Select Sector Index before fees and expenses.

The Utilities Select Sector Index seeks to provide an effective representation of the Utilities sector of the S&P 500 Index.

Costs

When considering an ETF's total return, expense ratios are an important factor, and cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive counterparts in the long term if all other factors remain equal.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.12%, making it one of the least expensive products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 2.95%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

While ETFs offer diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk, a deep look into a fund's holdings is a valuable exercise. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

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

Looking at individual holdings, Nextera Energy Inc. (NEE) accounts for about 16.19% of total assets, followed by Duke Energy Corporation (DUK) and Southern Company (SO).

The top 10 holdings account for about 63.46% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

Year-to-date, the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF has added roughly 11.85% so far, and it's up approximately 9.40% over the last 12 months (as of 11/01/2021). XLU has traded between $58.36 and $70.07 in this past 52-week period.

The ETF has a beta of 0.39 and standard deviation of 24.88% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 31 holdings, it has more concentrated exposure than peers.

Alternatives

Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF carries a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Thus, XLU is a good option for those seeking exposure to the Utilities/Infrastructure ETFs area of the market. Investors might also want to consider some other ETF options in the space.

Fidelity MSCI Utilities Index ETF (FUTY) tracks MSCI USA IMI Utilities Index and the Vanguard Utilities ETF (VPU) tracks MSCI US Investable Market Utilities 25/50 Index. Fidelity MSCI Utilities Index ETF has $1.15 billion in assets, Vanguard Utilities ETF has $5.05 billion. FUTY has an expense ratio of 0.08% and VPU charges 0.10%.

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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Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU): ETF Research Reports
 
NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Southern Company The (SO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Duke Energy Corporation (DUK): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Vanguard Utilities ETF (VPU): ETF Research Reports
 
Fidelity MSCI Utilities Index ETF (FUTY): ETF Research Reports
 
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