Market Overview

This Industry Is Already Up 5.4 Percent In 2015

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The year 2015 is off to a bad start for investors, as the S&P 500 has plummeted 3.2 percent in the first two weeks of the year.

Ironically, one of the few bright spots for investors so far in 2015 is hidden inside of the lagging financial sector: real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Big Banks Dragging Down The Sector

Big banks such as Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C), Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) have been dragging down the financial sector in early 2015 after the market was unimpressed by their weak earnings reports this week.

Related Link: The Truth Behind Banking's 'Big Four' In 3 Charts (And Why Bank Of America May Not Belong)

Each of the three banks is down more than 10 percent year-to-date.

XLF Holding Strong

While the financial sector has underperformed the S&P 500 so far this year, the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSE: XLF) is holding up surprisingly well considering how poorly banks stocks have performed.

Even though all three of the previously mentioned banks suffered technical breakdowns this week, the chart of XLF still looks solid. In fact, XLF is still comfortably inside of the ascending channel is has been trading inside since May of 2013.

What’s Keeping XLF Afloat?

Not all of the financial sector has lagged like the big banks have in 2015. In fact, REITs are actually bucking the trend and have produced gains over the first two weeks of the year.

The iShares Dow Jones US Real Estate ETF (NYSE: IYR) is up 5.4 percent on the year.

Names such as Essex Property Trust Inc (NYSE: ESS), Simon Property Group Inc (NYSE: SPG) and Health Care REIT Inc (NYSE: HCN) are all up around 10 percent in the first two weeks of 2015, and XLF has large stakes in each of these three REITs.

So far, this year’s headlines have been dominated by negativity, whether it be weak retail sales numbers, plummeting oil prices or earnings misses.

However, REIT investors are certainly off to a great start in 2015.

Disclosure: the author owns shares of Bank of America.

Posted-In: Long Ideas REIT Sector ETFs Trading Ideas ETFs Real Estate


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