Treading Carefully With Small-Cap ETFs

The iShares Russell 2000 ETF (NYSEArca: IWM), the largest exchange traded fund tracking smaller stocks, and the rival iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF (NYSEArca: IJR), which follows the S&P SmallCap 600 Index, have been solid performers this year. However, some traders are noting it could be time to prepare for a small-cap pullback.

Supporting the recent move in the small-caps segment, the broad equities market has made a robust rally off its February lows and now expectations for future earnings are on the rise.

Additionally, small-cap ETFs are still attractively priced relative to their larger counterparts.

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For instance, IWM shows a 18.45 price-to-earnings and a 1.68 price-to-book, IJR has a 19.39 P/E and a 1.87 P/B, and VB comes with a 19.77 P/E and a 1.89 P/B.

In Contrast, the Russell 1000 Index of large-caps is trading at a 18.64 P/E and a 2.52 P/B. Historically, the Russell 2000 has traded at an average 5% premium to the Russell 1000 Index since 1985, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch data.


Still, there are lingering concerns about the group following several months of bullishness.