May was a disastrous month for sector ETFs, with every fund but two seeing negative returns. The worst declines were in the energy sector, with the iShares U.S. Oil Equipment & Services ETF (IEZ) down a stunning 20.47% for the month, and the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP) down 17.14%. The technology sector’s SPDR S&P Semiconductor ETF (XSD) was in third place, with a decline of 15.01%. The only two funds with positive performance were the iShares U.S. Healthcare Providers ETF (IHF) and the Vanguard Real Estate ETF (VNQ), up just 0.53% and 0.10%, respectively, while the fund with the smallest decline was the iShares U.S. Real Estate ETF (IYR), down 0.05%. Flows were muted for the month. The Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK) pulled in the most, gaining $735.8 million, followed by the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLY), with a gain of $419.9 million, and the Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLU), with gain of $124.1 million. In terms of outflows, the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) and the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF) both saw outflows of $1.1 billion and the Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLV) lost $790.9 million.
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Sources: Bloomberg and FactSet. Data from 04/30/2019 to 05/31/2019. ETFs chosen to represent each sector based on the most liquid ETF in each segment of the ETF.com ETF Classification System.