Shares of the iShares U.S. Telecommunications ETF (NYSEArca: IYZ) are up 4.4% Tuesday on volume that is already close to quadruple the daily average after Windstream Holdings (NasdaqGS: WIN) said it will spin-off its telecom network business into a publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT).
“The tax-free spinoff will enable Windstream to realize significant financial flexibility by lowering debt by approximately $3.2 billion and increasing free cash flow to accelerate broadband investments, transition faster to an IP network and pursue additional growth opportunities to better serve customers,” said Arkansas-based Windstream in a statement.
That news is good enough to have the $578.7 million IYZ sitting as the best non-leveraged ETF to this point in Tuesday’s session. Windstream is IYZ’s seventh-largest holding at a weight of 4.8%. Earlier Tuesday, IYZ traded above $32, a level it has not closed above since October 2007. [Telecom ETFs Stand Out as Defensive Plays]
IYZ’s primary rival, the Vanguard Telecommunication Services ETF (NYSEArca: VOX), jumped 3.7% to a new lifetime high. VOX had a 2.7% weight to Windstream at the June, making the stock the ETF’s ninth-largest holding, according to Vanguard data.
Both IYZ and VOX allocate significant portions of their respective weights to Dow components AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ). Those stocks combine for over 26% of IYZ and 44% of VOX.