“The Energy sector is actually projected to report the highest earnings growth (307%) and be the largest contributor to earnings growth for the entire S&P 500 for CY 2017, due in part to the expectation that the average price of oil in CY 2017 is expected to be nearly $54,” Butters added.
The growth is not surprising as the energy sector has been one of the worst areas in earnings growth. For Q3 2016, the sector is expected to reveal its largest year-over-year earnings decline of 66%, the worst performance of all 11 S&P 500 sectors.
ETF investors interested in gaining exposure to the improving energy sector have a number of broad plays to choose from. For example, the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE), the largest equity-based energy ETF, increased 14.4% year-to-date.
SEE MORE: Energy Stocks, ETFs can Keep Surging
Rivals to XLE include the Vanguard Energy ETF (NYSEArca: VDE), iShares U.S. Energy ETF (NYSEArca: IYE) and the Fidelity MSCI Energy Index ETF (NYSEArca: FENY). Year-to-date, VDE gained 14.2%, IYE increased 12.0% and FENY advanced 13.0%.
For more information on oil producers, visit our energy category.