Normally defensive telecom stocks and the corresponding exchange traded funds are proving immune to Friday’s downdraft in U.S. equities.
News that the venerable Dow Jones Industrial Average will part ways with AT&T (NYSE: T) in favor of Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL) after the close of trading on March 18 is pressuring AT&T-heavy ETFs such as the iShares U.S. Telecommunications ETF (NYSEArca: IYZ), which is lower by 1.6%.
The rival Vanguard Telecommunication Services ETF (NYSEArca: VOX) is lower by 1.5% while the Fidelity MSCI Telecommunication Services Index ETF (NYSEArca: FCOM) is off 1.6%. Those declines are understandable. AT&T, with a market value of about $174 billion or less than Apple’s cash hoard, is also lower by 1.5% though off its worse levels of the day. [Politicians Love Stocks in These ETFs]
The stock accounts for 12% of IYZ. The $888.6 million VOX allocated a staggering 21.8% of its weight to AT&T at the end of January, according to Vanguard data. FCOM, the newest of the telecom ETFs, had a 22.6% weight to AT&T as of March 5.
Whether by way of the old American Telephone & Telegraph Co. or its current incarnation, AT&T has been a member of the Dow since 1939, so it is arguably surprising the Dow is parting ways with the telecom giant.