US equity ETFs boosted as S&P 500 hits all-time high

Jul 27th, 2017 | By | Category: Equities

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US large-cap equity ETFs have recorded gains recently as the S&P 500 Index hit intraday- and closing-high records on 25 July 2017. In a week where 180 of the index’s constituents are reporting their second-quarter results, several companies have delivered better-than-expected earnings, which sent the index to 2,477.08 at the close. ETFs tracking the index, such as the $19.3bn iShares Core S&P 500 UCITS ETF (LON: CSPX), have added around 10.7% so far in 2017.

S&P 500 hits fresh all time highs

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 both recorded record closing highs on 25 July.

Among those reporting earnings were McDonald’s, whose shares rose 4.8% as the fast-food restaurant chain reported strong global sales. Caterpillar shares climbed 5.9% after the industrial machinery manufacturer raised its full-year outlook for the second time this year.

The financial and energy sectors also posted strong gains for the day. The former was boosted by a strong profit forecast from Citigroup, and the latter was helped by a sharp gain in the price of oil, up 3.3% on the day.

Not all the earnings releases were good news, however. Alphabet and 3m both saw their shares slide as results disappointed analysts. Other S&P 500 companies due to report this week include Boeing, Facebook, Amazon and Coca Cola.

There are a number of options for European investors to gain exposure to the S&P 500 index through ETFs. CSPX is the largest in Europe and has a total expense ratio (TER) of 0.07%. The cheapest European-listed fund to track the index is the Source S&P 500 UCITS ETF (Xetra: P500) which costs just 0.05% and has AUM of $2.1bn.

There are also numerous locally listed smart beta ETFs based on the S&P 500 which take an alternative approx to the market-cap weighted index. The largest is the low vol iShares Edge S&P 500 Minimum Volatility UCITS ETF (LON: SPMV), which has returned 6.4% since the start of the year and has AUM of $1.2bn with a TER of 0.20%. Another popular fund is the PowerShares S&P 500 High Dividend Low Volatility UCITS ETF (LON: HDLV), which leans to towards low vol dividend-payers and has returned 4.2% so far this year. It has $477 million in AUM and a TER of 0.30%. Meanwhile, the db x-trackers S&P 500 Equal Weight UCITS ETF (LON: XDEW), which equally weights index constituents, has performed more favourably, though still behind the parent index, returning 9.0% since the start of 2017, and has AUM of $467m with a TER of 0.25%.

The largest S&P 500 tracker is also the largest ETF listed globally, the $240bn SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE Arca: SPY), which is double the size of the next largest ETF, the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSE Arca: IVV).

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