The Industrial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLI) is down just 2.2% year-to-date, but that is good for one of the more middling performances among the sector SPDR exchange traded funds. XLI’s 2015 also is not enough to get some analysts excited about what next year will bring for the industrial sector.
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.
Industrial-sector exchange traded funds may take an indirect hit from the depressed oil prices as energy producers are forced to cut back on planned projects and spending for manufactured goods. Historically, the industrial sector have rebounded in periods when the U.S. dollar depreciates. Consequently, this should suggests that industrials would be negatively correlated to the dollar. [Industrial ETFs Could Also Slip On Oil]
“What may be hidden from view is the fact that the industrial sector includes transportation stocks, which are in their own sharper decline. I panned the sector here earlier this month suggesting that it was bad news for the market and the economy,” reports Michael Kahn for Barron’s.
So far this year, the railway industry has been weakening on lower rail traffic after the drop in energy prices, notably from oil and coal companies. Over the first 35 weeks of the year, U.S. railroads experienced cumulative volume that was down more than 4% year-over-year. However, the pressures may have already been priced in, and the industry has a number of factors that will help support further growth.