Sectors In Review: March 2020

January was a mixed bag for sector ETFs.

Reviewed by: Heather Bell
Edited by: Heather Bell

January was a mixed bag for sector ETFs, with some funds recording steep losses. The worst performer was the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP), which was down 19.38% for the month, while the iShares U.S. Oil Equipment & Services ETF (IEZ) and SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME) were down 17.42% and 14.93%, respectively. The iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF (IGV) led the positive performers, with a gain of 6.73%, while the Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLU) was up 6.62% and the Vanguard Utilities ETF (VPU) increased by 6.06%. During the month, sector ETFs pulled in nearly $3.5 billion, led by a $1.2 billion gain in the Industrial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLI), a $1.1 billion increase for the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLY) and an $804.4 million gain for the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF). Outflows were less dramatic, as the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLP) lost $420.7 million; the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) decreased by $176.4 million and the iShares U.S. Real Estate ETF (IYR) lost $125.1 million.




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Sources: Bloomberg and FactSet. Data from 11/30/2019 to 12/31/2019. 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.