Utilities

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As the markets turn and investors grow more conservative, defensive assets like utilities sector exchange traded funds (ETFs) are back in the limelight. While the equities market has fallen off over the past few days, with the S&P 500 on track for a three-week low, the utilities sector is strengthening as a defensive play. The […]

Water stocks and sector-related exchange traded funds have rallied this year as investors turned to more conservative utility plays, but the sector may still have legs as the world confronts increasing fresh water scarcity. Year-to-date, the First Trust ISE Water ETF (NYSEArca: FIW) and PowerShares Water Resources Portfolio (NYSEArca: PHO), which both track U.S. companies […]

With investors returning to more riskier segments of the market, defensive utility stocks and sector-related exchange traded funds are losing momentum. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLU) has declined 3.8% since Wednesday and is now trading below its short-term, 50-day simple moving average. XLU has increased 9.3% year-to-date and reflects one of the best […]

John Hancock has filled out the gaps in its smart-beta exchange traded fund suite with five new sector-specific ETFs backed by Dimensional Fund Advisors’ research-based factor investing. According to a press release, John Hancock’s new funds include: John Hancock Multifactor Consumer Staples ETF (NYSEArca: JHMS) John Hancock Multifactor Energy ETF (NYSEArca: JHME) John Hancock Multifactor […]

Federal Reserve keeps short-term interest rates unchanged at a range of between 0.25% and 0.5% Fed officials also suggested there will only be two more rate hikes this year Weakening dollar helps bolster commodity assets With the Federal Reserve keeping short-term interest rates unchanged, rate-sensitive exchange traded funds popped while some trades dependent on higher rates […]

Many believed this would be the year that active stock pickers and mutual fund managers could choose their battles to generate alpha. However, the majority of active managers continued to underperform benchmark indices, bolstering the case for passive index-based exchange traded funds. Goldman Sachs analysis found that over the first two months of the year, […]

The $3.5 billion First Trust Dorsey Wright Focus 5 ETF (NasdaqGM: FV) has helped exchange traded fund investors target some high-flying sectors, but the momentum strategy recently cut its biotech position for a defensive play. The First Trust Dorsey Wright Focus 5 ETF follows DWA’s relative strength ranking system where sector ETFs are compared to […]

The lackluster earnings season and ongoing economic weakness have caused exchange traded fund investors to shift away from riskier equity markets into more conservative, safe-haven assets. According to EPFR data, investors redeemed over $10 billion from U.S. equity funds in the week ended February 4, the fifth constitutive week funds have recorded an outflow, reports […]

As volatility spikes and markets gyrate, some investors have turned to more conservative stocks and defensive sector exchange traded funds to ride out the storm. For instance, many have traditionally turned to defensive sectors like utilities, consumer staples and health care – sectors that would hold up in any economic cycle as U.S. consumers will […]

As the equities market experienced its worst start to a new year, exchange traded fund investors fled growth sectors and jumped into defensive stocks, along with betting on a valuation play. Investors’ eyes are on the tech space this week amid a spate of fourth quarter earnings results, but the technology sector was among the […]

As global markets plunged deeper into a correction, investors exited stock exchange traded funds for the third straight week. According to EPFR data, U.S. stock funds experienced $4.2 billion in withdrawals for the week ended January 20, which added to the worst three-week period of outflows since April, Reports Eric Platt for the Financial Times. […]

As the markets digest fourth quarter earnings results, U.S. markets are expected to fall further into an earnings recession, with S&P 500 companies likely to show decline in profits for the third consecutive quarter. Nevertheless, there some sectors and related exchange traded funds that may pull through. Profits are expected to decline by 7.2% in […]

Investors who believe volatility may persist through the year and the Federal Reserve may hold off on quick interest rate hikes may want to take a second look at defensive utilities sector exchange traded funds. “For investors who hold a contrarian view on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s future actions on interest rates, a utilities-sector investment […]

Interest rate-sensitive assets and related exchange traded funds were relatively unfazed by the Federal Reserve’s announced first rate hike since 2006, suggesting that the markets may have already priced in higher rates. The Federal Open Market Committee announced that it will raise the benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to between […]

U.S.-listed exchange traded funds continued to attract billions of dollars in November as low-cost passive strategies enticed investors in a volatile market. Erik Oja, S&P Capital IQ equity analyst covering asset managers, argues that long-term trend away from active funds to passive funds was exacerbated during the recent volatility, with BlackRock benefiting the most from […]

The month of December has been one of the strongest periods of the year for equities, and some areas of market and sector-related exchange traded funds may stand out during the Santa Claus rally. Over the past month, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY), iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: IVV) and Vanguard 500 […]

The U.S. economy is chugging along, with employment numbers strengthening. However, the improved economic environment is fueling bets that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates next month, dragging on rate-sensitive utilities sector exchange traded funds. The utilities sector was among the worst performing areas of the market Friday. The Vanguard Utilities ETF (NYSEArca: VPU) […]

Markets and exchange traded funds jostled late-Wednesday after the Federal Reserve referenced a December interest rate hike. “In determining whether it will be appropriate to raise the target range at its next meeting, the Committee will assess progress–both realized and expected–toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation,” the Fed said in a […]

Investors interested in positioning their portfolios ahead of changes to major market trends may target specific market segments with sector-specific exchange traded funds. For instance, on the recent webcast, How Well Do Your Know Your Sectors?, David Mazza, V.P. and Head of Research at State Street Global Advisor, pointed out that the utilities sector was […]

All sectors are not created equal. Investors who seek to adapt their investment portfolio to prevailing market trends may target specific areas of market through sector-related exchange traded funds. On the upcoming webcast, How Well Do Your Know Your Sectors?, State Street Global Advisor’s David Mazza, V.P. and Head of Research, Research Strategist Jared Rowley […]

Stodgy and defensive utilities exchange traded funds may have been uninspiring so far this year, but the sector shined in the third quarter as volatility dragged on riskier segments of the market. Over the past three months, Utilities Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLU) rose 3.6%, Vanguard Utilities ETF (NYSEArca: VPU) gained 2.9% and iShares U.S. […]

With the U.S. dollar strengthening and the Federal Reserve looking at tightening its monetary policy, the various U.S. market sectors and related exchange traded funds could behave differently in a strong USD environment. The Trade Weighted U.S. Dollar Index has increased 15% over the past year and is at its highest level in over 10 […]

Reaves Asset Management is testing the exchange traded fund waters after launching the first actively managed ETF to cover the utilities sector. According to a press release, the Reaves Utilities ETF (NasdaqGM: UTES) will invest in utilities without regard to market cap or dividend yield but seeks to deliver risk-adjusted total returns, employing a relative […]

The equities market and stock exchange traded funds jumped after the Federal Reserve announced it will be standing pat on record low U.S. interest rates for now in light of the weak economy, stubbornly low inflation and unstable global markets. Fed officials voted nine to one in favor of keeping current interest rates, stating Thursday […]

After a sudden market correction, investors my want to single out some sector-specific exchange traded funds to ride a potential rebound. According to Barclays, historical trends suggests that the equity market recovery has more room to run, reports Jamie Chisholm for the Financial Times. Barclays’ equity strategy team found that since 1940 there have been […]

High-yield dividend stocks and related exchange traded funds have been underperforming the market on speculation of higher interest rates, but without an immediate Federal Reserve rate hike, the income-generating assets could shine. According Barclays analysts led by Jonathan Glionna, utilities, master limited partnerships and real estate investment trusts deserve a second look as the markets […]

I do the “ETF of the Week” for MarketWatch every week on Chuck Jaffe’s MoneyLife Show where I highlight big movers and disappointments among exchange traded funds. On Thursday, I looked at the Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEArca: XLU). The utilities sector provides a defensive, dividend-generating play during uncertain market conditions. Click here to […]

The month of August has historically been a poor month for equities. Nevertheless, exchange traded fund investors may do well with focusing on more conservative sectors while growth sectors languish. According to data analytics platform Kensho, August has been the worst month of the year for the S&P 500, with the indexing falling 0.8% on […]

The Federal Reserve has not explicitly stated it will hike rates, pushing off its decision to a later time. If the Fed keeps kicking the can down the road, investors may revisit high-dividend-paying stocks and exchange traded funds. “Remember that a year ago, 75 percent of the Street said we were going to get a […]

As mentioned in our ETF Options recap this morning, XLU (SPDR Utilities Select Sector, Expense Ratio 0.15%) August 44 calls traded actively yesterday during a larger than normal sell-off in the sector ETF. XLU has approximately $6.2 billion in assets under management, including a fresh $134 million that has been added in the trailing one […]