Financial ETF Ups Bet on Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway

February 15th at 12:00pm by Paul Weisbruch, Street One Financial

Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) — expense ratio 0.18% — continues to outpace the broad market S&P 500 Index both year to date, and even more impressively in the trailing one year period (although it has a ton of ground to make up in the trailing five year period compared to the broad market index), and options flows continue to show a bullish appetite.

While most look at XLF on the surface and likely think “Banks,” like J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and the like (which are all top five holdings in the underlying S&P Financial Select Sector Index), Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class B (BRK.B) is steadily creeping up and challenging JPM as the highest weighted single stock member of the index (and thus the corresponding ETF, XLF).

BRK.B weighs in at 8.32% of XLF compared to JPM’s 8.60% weighting and ranks as the second largest holding in this market cap weighted index methodology.

Recall that Berkshire Class B shares themselves were just added to the S&P 500 Index back in 2010 when shareholders approved a 50-1 stock split as part of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe deal (and subsequent replacement of that stock in the index).

BRK.B stock is challenging $100 a share, and trading at multi-year highs on heavy trading volume in the underlying stock and linked ETFs, after announcing a premium takeover bid for HJ Heinz (HNZ) earlier this week.

If the stock continues to perform as it has been, it is very feasible that it will soon be the number one weighted stock in the XLF, which could be an eye opener for those whom still look at the ETF on the surface as “Banks” and/or “Banks and Brokerages.”

BRK.B’s stock appreciation has not been lost on other index methodologies either, as BRK.B weighs in at 6.34% (versus number one component JPM’s 6.40%) in IYF (iShares DJ U.S. Financial Sector, Expense Ratio 0.48%) and is the number five weighted holding in VFH (Vanguard Financials, Expense Ratio 0.23%).

IXG (iShares S&P Global Financial, Expense Ratio 0.49%) has a 3.29% allocation to Berkshire, and the stock is the second largest position in the underlying index behind HSBC Holdings. If BRK.B stock continues its torrid pace, we may soon be calling it the “largest cap” Financials based name not only on a U.S. domestic scale, but globally as well.

Financial Select Sector SPDR

financial-etf-xlf

For more information on Street One ETF research and ETF trade execution/liquidity services, contact Paul Weisbruch at pweisbruch@streetonefinancial.com.

Tickers