Sectors In Review: February 2019

December was uniformly disastrous for sector ETFs.

Reviewed by: Heather Bell
Edited by: Heather Bell

December saw a blanket decline among sector ETFs, with each one falling during the month. The ETF exhibiting the largest decline was the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP), which fell 18.78%. It was followed by the Invesco KBW Bank ETF (KBWB), down 15.3% and the iShares Transportation Average ETF (IYT), down 15.23%. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLU) had the best performance, with a decline of only 4.02%, while the Vanguard Utilities ETF (VPU) fell 4.11% and the iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF (IGV) fell 6.47%. Flows were relatively normal despite the sector ETFs’ disastrous performance, with XLU pulling in $831.4 million, followed by the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLP) and the iShares U.S. Real Estate ETF (IYR), which gained $429.6 million and $199.8 million, respectively. The funds that lost the most included the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF), which lost a stunning $3.2 billion, the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLY), which lost $649.1 million, and the Vanguard Real Estate ETF (VNQ), which lost $604 million.





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Source: Bloomberg. Data from 11/30/2018 to 12/31/2018. ETFs chosen to represent each sector based on the most liquid ETF in each segment of the ETF Classification System.



Heather Bell is a former managing editor of She has also held editorial positions at Dow Jones Indexes and Lehman Brothers. Bell is a graduate of Dartmouth college and resides in the Denver area with her two dogs.