Morningstar analyst Samuel Lee says the ETF “has a lot going for it,” including very low fees and the fact that over the past 50 years, the least-volatile stocks have performed about as well as the market, but with far less risk. [ETF Spotlight: Low-Volatility Funds]

“However, low-volatility strategies can underperform during bull markets,” he added.

SPLV overweights to defensive sectors such as consumer stocks and utilities.

“This strategy may have softened the swells from the stormy markets of last year, but it’s coming up a laggard this year as a recovering economy is propelling the general market,” writes Wasik at Reuters.

PowerShares S&P 500 Low Volatility Portfolio