The recent price cut by the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier, AT&T Inc. (T), is seemingly spreading fears among telecom investors (read: Mixed AT&T Earnings Put These Telecom ETFs in Focus).
In a play to regain its market position, AT&T has slashed rates for family plans consuming large amount of data. Under the operator's new "best-ever prices" plan, a family using four smart phones can now pay $160 a month instead of the earlier fees of $200 a month.
Users will be able to access 10-gigabytes of shared data, unlimited calling and text messaging under the newly introduced plan. This is aimed at aggressively regaining market share lost to rival T-Mobile.
The After Effect & Market Reaction
The price cut is sending jitters among investors, as they fear the recent move by AT&T will prompt market leader Verizon (VZ) and rival telecom operators to follow suit. Verizon currently charges $100 more for the same plan, while T-Mobile charges $20 more per month (read: 3 Telecom ETFs to Watch on Huge Verizon Deal).
The price war is expected to drag down margins and profitability in the telecom industry. The fear of an ongoing pricing war caused all the major telecom stocks to take a beating in recent trading sessions.
ETF Impact in the session
All the eight telecom ETFs closed the trading session in the red. iShares MSCI ACWI ex US Telecommunication Services Sector Index Fund (AXTE) was the biggest loser in yesterdays trading session shedding more than 4%.
Moreover, other telecom and technology ETFs having double-digit exposure in AT&T, such as, Vanguard Telecommunication Services ETF (VOX), Fidelity MSCI Telecommunication Services Index ETF (FCOM) and iShares Global Telecom ETF (IXP) lost around 3%.
However, the recent drop in prices of ETFs having sizeable exposure in AT&T can be used as a buying opportunity, as we have a favorable long-term outlook on the stock. Its bullish Zacks Industry Rank in the top 40% affirms this fact.
Below, we have highlighted two funds which have more than 20% exposure in AT&T and should be monitored closely by telecom investors (see all Telecommunication ETFs here).
VOX In Focus
VOX is the most popular ETF in the communications space. The fund has an asset base of $580 million and charges 14 bps in annual fees.
The product tracks the MSCI U.S. Investable Market Telecommunication Services 25/50 Index and holds 32 stocks in its basket.
The fund is highly concentrated in its top 10 holdings, which form around 70% of total fund assets. AT&T occupies the top position in the basket with 21.7% of assets, while Verizon has 21.3% exposure in the fund.
VOX dropped more than 4.5% in the past month, while it has lost 7.9% in the past three months.
FCOM in Focus
This fund follows the MSCI USA IMI Telecommunication Services 25/50 Index, holding 33 stocks in its basket.
AT&T takes the second spot at 21.2%, while the top spot is occupied by Verizon which makes up roughly 21.5% of the fund (read: Verizon Earnings Puts These Telecom ETFs in Focus).
The ETF is unpopular with just $25.5 million in AUM while its expense ratio comes in at 0.12%. The fund dropped around 4.5% in the past month and is also down 1.9% in the past three months.
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