The earnings season has been disappointing and weighed on investor confidence through one of the worst starts to a new year. Nevertheless, there are some areas that may pull through the malaise, with decent growth propping up the sector-related exchange traded funds.
Aggregate fourth quarter 2015 S&P 500 earnings-per-share are expected to fall 4.94% year-over-year, according to S&P Capital IQ.
However, the dismal earnings season is largely attributed to the large negative impact that energy companies have on the broader index. The energy sector is expected to generate a -75.1% earnings for the fourth quarter after the plunge in oil prices weighed on profits. Without the oil producers, the remaining S&P 500 companies would generate a 1.5% earnings growth.
Investors may be better off targeting areas of growth instead of holding a broad equities exposure. For instance, Capital IQ calculates that only four of the 10 S&P sectors will post positive earnings growth for the fourth quarter, with Telecom services leading the back on 18.7% expected earnings growth, followed by consumer discretionary 10.4%, health care 9.9% and industrials 0.6%.
Investors seeking broad exposure to the telecom space can look to a number of ETF options, including the iShares U.S. Telecommunications ETF (NYSEArca: IYZ), Vanguard Telecommunication Services ETF (NYSEArca: VOX) and Fidelity MSCI Telecommunication Services Index ETF (NYSEArca: FCOM).
For consumer discretionary exposure, investors can take a look at the iShares US Consumer Services ETF (NYSEArca: IYC), Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF (NYSEArca: VCR) and Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLY).
The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLV), iShares U.S. Healthcare ETF (NYSEArca: IYH), Vanguard Health Care ETF (NYSEArca: VHT) and Fidelity MSCI Health Care Index ETF (NYSEArca: FHLC) provide broad exposure to the healthcare space.
Lastly, the Industrial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLI), Vanguard Industrials ETF (NYSEArca: VIS), iShares U.S. Industrials ETF (NYSEArca: IYJ) and Fidelity MSCI Industrials Index ETF (NYSEArca: FIDU) provide access to industrial names.
S&P Capital IQ currently holds a market Overweight rating on the consumer discretionary, health care and telecommunication services S&P sectors. On the other hand, they recommend Underweight positions in energy, materials and utilities.
Max Chen contributed to this article.
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.