Not all exchange traded funds (ETFs) are right for every investor. If you can’t find an ETF that matches your needs or risk tolerance, though, it’s possible to find alternative ways to get the exposure you’re seeking.
Often, investors who want to play energy would simply look at energy shares or ETFs. But the institutional approach is to look around for the cheapest way to get this exposure. For example, explains Steven M. Sears for Barron’s, if they’re looking to buy energy, they’d check out commodities, bonds, stocks, options and even credit default swaps.
This is why, if you’re looking at an energy play, Sears says you might consider a utility sector ETF such as the Utilities Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLU) because it offers a cost-effective way to get your portfolio in place if an increase in natural gas prices comes along.
Why? Utilities are increasingly using coal and natural gas to generate power, and electricity prices are set on the basis of consumer demand as well as the supply of natural gas and coal. Therefore, Sears says, XLU is showing a higher correlation to energy prices.