International Energy ETFs Topping Domestic Peers

After trailing the broader market in 2013, the energy sector is trying to shed its laggard status.

Judging by the year-to-date performances turned in by some noteworthy energy ETFs, the sector is improving. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE) is up 2.6% while the Market Vectors Oil Service ETF (NYSEArca: OIH). Other, more focused energy ETFs have turned in performances on par with, or better than those offered by XLE and friends. [Oil ETF Looks for New Highs]

Include international energy ETFs on that list. The $1 billion iShares Global Energy ETF (NYSEArca: IXC) is up 3.7% since the start of the year. True to its global roots, IXC does feature exposure to the U.S. to the tune of a dominating 51.8% of the ETF’s weight. However, the ETF also offers a credible avenue for exposure to inexpensive European oil majors.

The U.K., France, Italy and Norway combine for about a quarter of IXC’s weight with Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A), BP (NYSE: BP) and Total (NYSE: TOT), Europe’s three largest oil companies found among the fund’s top-10 holdings. IXC does not cheat the conservative investor as Dow components Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX), the two largest U.S. oil companies, combine for 22% of IXC. [Norway ETFs Look for Momentum]

IXC’s exposure to Shell and Total, the latter of which has been driving the France ETF higher this year, is important because those stocks have traded higher this year (Total is up 10.5%) while Exxon and Chevron are still in the red.