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Is SPDR S&P Software & Services ETF (XSW) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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The SPDR S&P Software & Services ETF (XSW - Free Report) made its debut on 09/28/2011, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund that provides broad exposure to the Technology ETFs category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

The ETF industry has long been dominated by products based on market cap weighted indexes, a strategy created to reflect the market or a particular market segment.

Because market cap weighted indexes provide a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, they work well 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.

Non-cap weighted indexes try to choose stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance, which is based on specific fundamental characteristics, or a mix of other such characteristics.

Even though this space provides many choices to investors--think one of the simplest methodologies like equal-weighting and more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting--not all have been able to deliver first-rate results.

Fund Sponsor & Index

The fund is managed by State Street Global Advisors. XSW has been able to amass assets over $381.11 million, making it one of the average sized ETFs in the Technology ETFs. This particular fund seeks to match the performance of the S&P Software & Services Select Industry Index before fees and expenses.

The S&P Software & Services Select Industry Index represents the software sub-industry portion of the S&P Total Stock Market Index. The S&P TMI tracks all the U.S. common stocks listed on the NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ National Market and NASDAQ Global Select Market. The Software Index is a modified equal weight index.

Cost & Other Expenses

Cost is an important factor in selecting the right ETF, and cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins if all other fundamentals are the same.

With one of the least expensive products in the space, this ETF has annual operating expenses of 0.35%.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 0.17%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

It is important to delve into an ETF's holdings before investing despite the many upsides to these kinds of funds like diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation in the Information Technology sector - about 96.70% of the portfolio.

When you look at individual holdings, Splunk Inc (SPLK - Free Report) accounts for about 0.89% of the fund's total assets, followed by Engagesmart Inc and Palantir Technologies Inc A (PLTR - Free Report) .

Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 8.34% of XSW's total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF return is roughly 25.64% and is up about 21.45% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 12/01/2023), respectively. XSW has traded between $104.54 and $142.60 during this last 52-week period.

XSW has a beta of 1.11 and standard deviation of 29.22% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a high risk choice in the space. With about 148 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

SPDR S&P Software & Services ETF is an excellent option for investors seeking to outperform the Technology ETFs segment of the market. There are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider as well.

Invesco AI and Next Gen Software ETF (IGPT - Free Report) tracks STOXX WORLD AC NEXGEN SOFTWARE DEV ID and the iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF (IGV - Free Report) tracks S&P North American Technology-Software Index. Invesco AI and Next Gen Software ETF has $174.74 million in assets, iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF has $7.47 billion. IGPT has an expense ratio of 0.60% and IGV charges 0.41%.

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