Launched on 01/26/2004, the Vanguard Utilities ETF (
VPU Quick Quote VPU - Free Report) is a passively managed exchange traded fund designed to provide a broad exposure to the Utilities - Broad segment of the equity market.
An increasingly popular option among retail and institutional investors, passively managed ETFs offer low costs, transparency, flexibility, and tax efficiency; they are also excellent vehicles for long term investors.
Additionally, sector ETFs offer convenient ways to gain low risk and diversified exposure to a broad group of companies in particular sectors. Utilities - Broad is one of the 16 broad Zacks sectors within the Zacks Industry classification. It is currently ranked 14, placing it in bottom 13%.
The fund is sponsored by Vanguard. It has amassed assets over $5.32 billion, making it one of the largest ETFs attempting to match the performance of the Utilities - Broad segment of the equity market. VPU seeks to match the performance of the MSCI US Investable Market Utilities 25/50 Index before fees and expenses.
The MSCI US Investable Market Utilities 25/50 Index comprises of stocks of large, mid-size, and small U.S. companies within the utilities sector.
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.
Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.10%, making it one of the least expensive products in the space.
It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 2.79%.
Sector Exposure and Top Holdings
ETFs offer a diversified exposure and thus minimize single stock risk but it is still important to delve into a fund's holdings before investing. Most ETFs are very transparent products and many disclose their holdings on a daily basis.
This ETF has heaviest allocation in the Utilities sector--about 99.40% of the portfolio.
Looking at individual holdings, Nextera Energy Inc. (
NEE Quick Quote NEE - Free Report) accounts for about 14.85% of total assets, followed by Duke Energy Corp. ( DUK Quick Quote DUK - Free Report) and Southern Co. ( SO Quick Quote SO - Free Report) .
The top 10 holdings account for about 52.48% of total assets under management.
Performance and Risk
The ETF has lost about -2.24% and it's up approximately 14.88% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 01/12/2022), respectively. VPU has traded between $128.27 and $156.40 during this last 52-week period.
The ETF has a beta of 0.45 and standard deviation of 24.81% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 66 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.
Vanguard Utilities ETF carries a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Thus, VPU is a good option for those seeking exposure to the Utilities/Infrastructure ETFs area of the market. Investors might also want to consider some other ETF options in the space.
Fidelity MSCI Utilities Index ETF (
FUTY Quick Quote FUTY - Free Report) tracks MSCI USA IMI Utilities Index and the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF ( XLU Quick Quote XLU - Free Report) tracks Utilities Select Sector Index. Fidelity MSCI Utilities Index ETF has $1.23 billion in assets, Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF has $12.55 billion. FUTY has an expense ratio of 0.08% and XLU charges 0.12%. Bottom Line
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