Utilities: 2016's Top Sector

02/16/2016 9:00 am EST

Focus: ETFs

Nicholas Vardy

ETF Strategist, Oxford Club

With stocks off to their worst start since 2008, it's hard to find any bright spots in the market, cautions Nicholas Vardy, editor of Triple Digit Trader.

Almost every sector is in the red for the year. Of the ten main sectors, only one has actually rallied this year…and quite substantially.

Utilities—which were the third-worst-performing sector of 2015—have made a solid comeback in early 2016.

Interest rates were expected to rise this year. Instead, they fell substantially in January and early February on the back of market turmoil.

With government yields down, dividends from utilities suddenly look more attractive.

Technically, the utilities sector boasts one of the few bullish charts in the United States. Granted, it’s overbought. But utilities’ perceived safe-haven status should help to insulate the sector from any market pullback.

As relatively safe businesses with high dividend payouts, investors see utilities as an alternative to Treasuries. That makes them popular choices during times of market turmoil.

Our latest recommendation, the ProShares Ultra Utilities ETF (UPW), is a 2x-leveraged way to track the Dow Jones US Utilities Index.

Its major holdings include Duke Energy (DUK), NextEra Energy (NEE), and Dominion Resources (D).

The ProShares Ultra Utilities ETF currently yields 1.37% and has returned 13.18% year-to-date.

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