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Is SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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Launched on 06/19/2006, the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP - Free Report) is a smart beta exchange traded fund offering broad exposure to the Energy 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.

Market cap weighted indexes work great for investors who believe in market efficiency. They provide a low-cost, convenient and transparent way of replicating market returns.

But, there are some investors who would rather invest in smart beta funds; these funds track non-cap weighted strategies, and are a strong option for those who prefer choosing great stocks in order to beat the market.

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.

This area offers many different investment choices, such as simplest equal-weighting, fundamental weighting and volatility/momentum based weighting methodologies; however, not all of these strategies can deliver superior results.

Fund Sponsor & Index

The fund is managed by State Street Global Advisors, and has been able to amass over $3.17 billion, which makes it one of the largest ETFs in the Energy ETFs. XOP, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Select Industry Index.

The S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Select Industry Index represents the oil and gas exploration and production sub-industry portion of the S&P Total Markets Index. The S&P TMI tracks all the US common stocks listed on the NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ National Market and NASDAQ Small Cap exchanges. The Oil & Gas Exploration Index is a modified equal weight index.

Cost & Other Expenses

When considering an ETF's total return, expense ratios are an important factor. And, cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins in the long term if all other factors remain equal.

Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.35% for XOP, making it one of the least expensive products in the space.

XOP's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 2.72%.

Top Holdings

While ETFs offer diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk, a deep look into a fund's holdings is a valuable exercise. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

For XOP, it has heaviest allocation in the Energy sector --about 0% of the portfolio --while Industrials and Materials round out the top three.

When you look at individual holdings, Phillips 66 (PSX - Free Report) accounts for about 2.95% of the fund's total assets, followed by Chord Energy Corp (CHRD - Free Report) and Diamondback Energy Inc (FANG - Free Report) .

Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 26.85% of XOP's total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

Year-to-date, the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF has lost about -3.43% so far, and is down about -1.30% over the last 12 months (as of 02/08/2024). XOP has traded between $116.28 and $153.81 in this past 52-week period.

The ETF has a beta of 1.74 and standard deviation of 38.26% for the trailing three-year period, making it a high risk choice in the space. With about 59 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF is an excellent option for investors seeking to outperform the Energy ETFs segment of the market. There are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider as well.

Invesco Energy Exploration & Production ETF (PXE - Free Report) tracks Dynamic Energy Exploration & Production Intellidex Index and the iShares U.S. Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (IEO - Free Report) tracks Dow Jones U.S. Select Oil Exploration & Production Index. Invesco Energy Exploration & Production ETF has $125.99 million in assets, iShares U.S. Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF has $667.22 million. PXE has an expense ratio of 0.60% and IEO charges 0.40%.

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