Materials sector exchange traded funds have been outperforming broader U.S. equities as global growth gains momentum, notably in the emerging markets.
The Materials Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLB) has gained 8.2% over the past month while the S&P 500 rose 3%.
The materials sector is expected to see earnings rise up to 6.5% for the fourth quarter as large companies in the sector profit on exposure to growth in the emerging markets, including Latin America and China, the Financial Times reports. [S&P Likes Materials ETFs on Emerging Market Demand]
On Tuesday, Monsanto (NYSE: MON) announced that its fiscal first-quarter profits almost tripled on corn seed sales to South America that jumped 27% and higher herbicide prices, the Wall Street Journal reports. Monsanto has been typically calm in the first quarter but demand in South America has kept the company going in a period of less demand in the U.S.
“One of the most obvious areas of [our fiscal]first- quarter strength is our corn performance, [and one]of the most important drivers there is Latin America,” Hugh Grant, chief executive, said in the Financial Times article.
Monsanto is the largest holding in XLB, accounting for 11.1% of the ETF. Other top holdings include du Pont de Nemours and Co (NYSE: DD) 9.0%, Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) 8.3%, Praxair (NYSE: PX) 7.1% and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE: FCX) 7.0%.