ETF Trends
ETF Trends

The Technology Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLK) is up 9.7% year-to-date. That is not a jaw-dropping performance, but it is about 200 basis points better than the S&P 500.

XLK’s solid-though-not-spectacular ways do not mean technology sector exchange traded funds are lacking for big gains this year. It is just a matter of where investors look.

With old guard tech names lending plenty of durability to the sector in the face of the Internet and social media meltdown earlier this year, it is not surprising that some of the most familiar semiconductor stocks are turning in impressive performances. [Old School Tech Leads the Way]

Given the strength of chip stocks this year, it may not be surprising that the leading tech ETF is the SPDR S&P Semiconductor ETF (NYSEArca: XSD), which is up 24.2%.

What is surprising is that XSD has arrived at its leadership perch among tech ETFs with little help from the largest semiconductor names. For example, Intel (NasdaqGS: INTC) and Texas Instruments (NasdaqGS: TXN) combine for just 4.6% of the equal-weight XSD. Qualcomm (NasdaqGS: QCOM) is up 10.2% this year, but is not one of XSD’s roughly 50 holdings. [A Super Semiconductor ETF]

Still, XSD has managed to lead all non-leveraged tech ETFs. XSD’s weighted average market value of about $10.5 billion, or about 1/15 the size of Intel, highlights the ETF’s mid- and small-cap bias. In turn, XSD’s performance highlights the strength of small-cap semiconductor names even as the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (NYSEArca: IWM) has gone through some rough patches this year.

Further underscoring XSD’s bullishness this year is this factoid: Four of the ETF’s top-10 holdings are up at least 50%. That group is comprised of Micron Technology (NasdaqGM: MU), Synaptics (NasdaqGM: SYNA), Integrated Device Technology (NasdaqGS: IDTI) and Spansion (NYSE: CODE).

With just $160.5 million in assets under management, XSD proves that the old adage of big things coming in small packages rings true with ETFs. However, that AUM total is up more than 10% since we last highlighted the ETF just a month ago. [Big Things From Small ETFs]

SPDR S&P Semiconductor ETF