Thursday’s ETF To Watch: Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE)

by on April 26, 2012 | ETFs Mentioned:

Markets opened higher yesterday as strong earnings from Apple (AAPL) and others brought some much needed momentum to major benchmarks. While most investors are hoping for bad news in the euro-zone to subside, that may not be realistic. It seems that Spain may be the next Greece and any developments in the debts of those two countries has the ability to sink markets.  For the time being, earnings season will likely take precedent in trading and market behaviors, although this Friday’s GDP report will certainly have a major impact on the near term economic outlook [see also 5 ETFs For The Earnings Bull]. 

Today will see earnings from one of the largest blue chips in the world, Exxon Mobil (XOM). Before market open, XOM will be detailing its most recent quarter’s earnings as investors keep a close eye on what was the largest firm in the world for quite some time. One of the most important aspects of the report will be the guidance given, as the majority of the country has been faced with high gas prices, despite the price of crude being volatile [see also Defensive Equity ETFs For Earnings Season]. 

Analysts are expecting EPS of 2.09 with revenues just shy of $125 billion for these first quarter results. “Revenue has grown by double digits year-over-year for the last four quarters. Over that span, the company has averaged growth of 25.5%, with the biggest boost coming in the second quarter of the last fiscal year when revenue rose 35.8% from the year earlier quarter” writes Narrative Science. XOM has had just one earnings miss in the past year and analyst expectations have become increasingly bullish in recent weeks, making this report even more important. XOM currently has a market cap sitting at $410 billion while maintaining an attractive yield of 2.2%.

With this major earnings announcement on tap, today’s ETF to watch will be the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE). This ETF is home to over $7 billion in assets and trades nearly 15 million times each day, making it one of the most popular ETFs in the space. Exxon comes in as XLE’s top holding, accounting for more than 18% of the entire fund. If earnings come in low or guidance is negative, look for this fund to take a hit during the day’s trading. A good report, however should give this fund a nice boost to XLE [see also In Search Of The Best Energy ETF].

Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.