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Is SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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A smart beta exchange traded fund, the SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE - Free Report) debuted on 11/08/2005, and offers broad exposure to the Financials ETFs category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

Products that are based on market cap weighted indexes, which are strategies designed to reflect a specific market segment or the market as a whole, have traditionally dominated the ETF industry.

Market cap weighted indexes offer a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, and are a good option for investors who believe in market efficiency.

There are some investors, though, who think it's possible to beat the market with great stock selection; this group likely invests in another class of funds known as smart beta, which track non-cap weighted strategies.

This kind of index follows this same mindset, as it attempts to pick stocks that have better chances of risk-return performance; non-cap weighted strategies base selection on certain fundamental characteristics, or a mix of such characteristics.

Methodologies like equal-weighting, one of the simplest options out there, fundamental weighting, and volatility/momentum based weighting are all choices offered to investors in this space, but not all of them can deliver superior returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

The fund is managed by State Street Global Advisors, and has been able to amass over $3.46 billion, which makes it one of the larger ETFs in the Financials ETFs. Before fees and expenses, this particular fund seeks to match the performance of the S&P Banks Select Industry Index.

The S&P Banks Select Industry Index is a modified equal-weighted index that seeks to reflect the performance of publicly traded companies that do business as banks or thrifts. The Bank Index is currently comprised of common stocks of national money centers and leading regional banks or thrifts listed on the NYSE or another U.S. national securities exchange, or NASDAQ/National Market System.

Cost & Other Expenses

Since cheaper funds tend to produce better results than more expensive funds, assuming all other factors remain equal, it is important for investors to pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio.

Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.35% for this ETF, which makes it one of the cheaper products in the space.

The fund has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.94%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Most ETFs are very transparent products, and disclose their holdings on a daily basis. ETFs also offer diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk, though it's still important for investors to research a fund's holdings.

For KBE, it has heaviest allocation in the Financials sector --about 100% of the portfolio.

Looking at individual holdings, Silvergate Capital Corp. Class A (SI - Free Report) accounts for about 2.20% of total assets, followed by Western Alliance Bancorp (WAL - Free Report) and Regions Financial Corporation (RF - Free Report) .

The top 10 holdings account for about 16.21% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has added roughly 41.08% so far this year and it's up approximately 74.39% in the last one year (as of 11/09/2021). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $37.04 and $57.89.

The ETF has a beta of 1.38 and standard deviation of 38.76% for the trailing three-year period, making it a high risk choice in the space. With about 96 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


SPDR S&P Bank ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Financials ETFs segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.

First Trust NASDAQ Bank ETF (FTXO - Free Report) tracks Nasdaq US Smart Banks Index and the Invesco KBW Bank ETF (KBWB - Free Report) tracks KBW Nasdaq Bank index. First Trust NASDAQ Bank ETF has $299.71 million in assets, Invesco KBW Bank ETF has $3.50 billion. FTXO has an expense ratio of 0.60% and KBWB charges 0.35%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Financials ETFs.

Bottom Line

To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center.

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