May is here and with the arrival of the fifth month of the year comes all that chatter about selling in May and going away. It is just one day, but if last Friday is any indication, selling this May could leave some investors regretting the decision.
As is the case with the arrival of each new month, May brings an opportunity for tactical investors to profit from seasonal trends, particularly at the sector level. However, it should be noted that seasonality is best applied in concert with other indicators.
With that in mind, there are some sector exchange traded funds that have historically delivered impressive May performances. The fifth month of the year often means the end of the best period for energy stocks and the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE) usually ends its bullish stretch with a bang. [Bears Give up on Energy ETFs]
Going back to 1999, the first full trading year for the nine sector SPDRs, XLE usually leads the way in May with an average gain of just over 1%, according to CXO Advisory.
XLE, the largest equity-based energy ETF by assets, is coming off a 6% gain in April and after losing nearly 9% last year to rank as the worst of the nine sector SPDRs, XLE is the second best of the nine this year.
XLE got some good news last week when the ETF’s largest holding, Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) raised its dividend. That extended Exxon’s dividend increase streak, quashing fears that the largest U.S. oil company would respond to lower prices by foregoing its dividend aristocrat status. [Energy ETFs are Still Pricey]