Year-to-date, the Industrial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLI) is the third-worst performer among the nine select sector SPDRs. Only the Utilities Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLU) and the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE) have been worse.
XLI has been stymied on multiple fronts. In no particular order, tumbling oil prices have pinched demand for oil services provided by some large- and mega-cap industrial names, such as Dow component General Electric (NYSE: GE), also XLI’s largest holding.
On a related note, slack commodities demand has been a drain railroad operators, an industry group that accounts for nearly 10% of XLI’s weight. And in a perversion of historical trends, airline stocks have not been responsive to oil’s slump and that industry is 5% of XLI’s weight. The good news is that airlines have popped over the past month, but XLI is going to need more help. [Airline ETF Ready to Soar]
A strong U.S. dollar and declining energy sector capital spending are among the issue plaguing industrial ETFs this year. U.S. manufacturing, which makes up 12% of the economy, could remain weak on the lingering effects of the dollar and fuel costs. [Industrial ETFs Could Also Slip On Oil]
In a recent research note, AltaVista Research placed a neutral rating on XLI, implying average appreciation potential for the largest industrial ETF. That rating is not by any means damning. As AltaVista notes, that is the rating the research firm assigns to most of the ETFs it tracks. Still, XLI needs some help from its marquee constituents if the ETF is to reverse course and finish 2015 in the green.