Rate-Sensitive Equity ETFs Smacked on Jobs Report, Rising Yields

ETF Trends

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up about 100 points at one point in early trading Friday but sector ETFs sensitive to interest rates were in the red as Treasury yields spiked following the better-than-expected June jobs report.

For example, ETFs tracking utilities, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and homebuilders were trading to the downside.

The iShares US Home Construction ETF (ITB) was off more than 1% at last check as yields on the 10-year Treasury note touched 2.7% for the first time in nearly two years. Homebuilder ETFs have taken a hit recently on fears rising mortgage rates could bite into housing demand. [Rising Mortgage Rates Could Raze Homebuilder ETFs]

Elsewhere, Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) and SPDR Dow Jones REIT (RWR) were also lower Friday.

Treasury yields are rising on speculation the Federal Reserve may soon begin scaling back its bond purchases.

The recent change in tone from the Fed has caused an “unwinding” of investor behavior from the last few years, says Russ Koesterich, BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist.

Within U.S. equities, there has been a recent reversal in “crowded trades” such as commercial real estate stocks and utilities that some investors have used as “bond market proxies” as they stretched for yield, he added.

As a result, investors have sold ETFs that track rate-sensitive sectors, including REITs and utilities.

Utilities Select Sector SPDR

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The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of John Spence, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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