Select Sector SPDRs, as well as options on them, began trading on the American Stock Exchange on December 22, 1998. Amodified version of the older and broader SPDRs (pronounced "spiders") that represent all the stocks in the S&P 500, they allow the investor to focus on one of nine industry subgroups that compose the benchmark. While the gains of the original SPDRs can be dragged down significantly by struggling sectors, the Sector SPDRs make it possible to avoid the obvious losers and invest larger amounts in the more profitable industry groups.
The Select Sector SPDR Funds offered are: Basic Industries Sector, Consumer Services Sector, Consumer Staples Sector, Cyclical/Transportation Sector, Energy Sector, Financial Sector, Industrial Sector, Technology Sector and Utilities Sector.
On Feb. 12, the Amex also began trading Merrill Lynch & Co. Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund Market Index Target-Term Securities, or MITTS, under the ticker symbol ESM. The MITTS have a seven year maturity period, after which the amount of the initial investment is 100% guaranteed, and a formula is applied to determine investor profit.