When it comes to making contrarian bets with sector exchange traded funds to start the new year, energy ETFs come to mind and with good reason.
In 2014, the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE) was the worst performer among the nine sector SPDR ETFs and the only one of the nine to finish the year lower. That is to say energy was by far the worst-performing sector in the S&P 500 after spending significant time earlier last year as the leading sector.
The silver lining in oil’s decline is oil stocks have been favorably, if not dramatically, repriced, making the energy sector one of the most attractively valued in the S&P 500 while defensive darlings staples and utilities look expensive. [ETFs for a 2015 Energy Rebound]
“The recent plunge in oil prices has created a dramatic re-pricing of stocks in the energy sector. For investors who are looking for inexpensively valued stocks that may be poised to benefit from mean reversion (the theory that stocks move toward their average price over time), energy stocks are now on the radar for a rebound in 2015,” according to a recent research note by Invesco PowerShares, the fourth-largest U.S. ETF issuer. [A Contrary Play for the Patient Investor]
One energy ETF that has recently been showing signs of life is the PowerShares Dynamic Energy Exploration & Production Portfolio (NYSEArca: PXE).
Up 11% since Dec. 15, PXE tracks the Dynamic Energy Exploration & Production Intellidex Index and that index is, well, dynamic. The index considers companies based on price momentum, earnings momentum, quality, management action, and value, according to PowerShares.
The ETF makes for an alluring value proposition because of its robust exposure to refiners. Lower oil prices reduce input costs for refiners, which can lead to higher margins. [This Energy ETF Could Surprise]