ETF Trends
ETF Trends

A year ago this week, S&P Dow Jones Indices booted Alcoa (NYSE: AA), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, making room for Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Nike (NYSE: NKE) and Visa (NYSE: V) in the process.

Those moves were meaningful for the Dow and the$11.7 billion SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) because the Dow is a price-weighted index, meaning Visa and Goldman are now DIA’s largest and third-largest holdings, respectively. Throw in Nike, DIA’s ninth-largest holding, the Dow’s three newest additions combine for over a third of the blue chip index and DIA’s weight.

The issue is that those changes have not meant much for the performance of the Dow and DIA. Accounting for dividends paid, DIA is up 13.4% for the 12 months ended Sept. 25 while the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) is up 18.4%. The PowerShares QQQ (NasdaqGM: QQQ) is higher by 26.2% over the same period. [Danger for the Dow ETF]

“Since the Average is a price-weighted index, the stocks with the highest prices typically move the Dow higher or lower.Therefore, one would think the performance of the top ten priciest companies has contributed most of the gains to the Dow’s record levels this year. We found otherwise, however, after analyzing the individual contributions of the 30 components to the overall advances in the Dow year-to-date,” said Nicholas Colas,chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group, a global brokerage company based in New York.

As Colas notes, IBM (NYSE: IBM), Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT), Intel (NasdaqGS: INTC), Cisco (NYSE: CSCO), Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS), Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Merck (NYSE: MRK) and UnitedHealth (NYSE: UNH) have been the primary drivers of the Dow’s performance this year. Of those stocks, only IBM and UnitedHealth are top-10 holdings in DIA. The ETF is up just 3.3% year-to-date, again lagging SPY and QQQ by wide margins.

Entering Thursday, the stocks removed from the index have, on average, outperformed dramatically. Year-to-date, Alcoa, Bank of America, and Hewlett-Packard have climbed 47%, 8%, and 26% Comparatively, the newly added Goldman Sachs and Nike only returned 4% and 1% year-to-date, while Visa slumped 5%,” said Colas.

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