Fund Watch


This Rydex ETF Gives an Industrial-Strength Performance

This unusual exchange-traded fund doesn't let big companies dominate.



Rydex S&P 500 Equal Weight Industrials ETF offers investors an uncommon, but potentially lucrative, way to diversify their exposure to the stocks of large and midsize industrial companies.

This exchange-traded fund tracks the industrial sector of Standard & Poor's 500-stock index. But instead of weighting the stocks by their market capitalizations, the approach used in most indexes, the Rydex fund assigns each stock an equal weighting.

In traditional market-cap-weighted benchmarks, large companies are much more influential than small firms. For example, the five biggest S&P industrials account for 32% of the index, with General Electric alone representing 11%. In the Rydex ETF, each stock counts for about 1.8%. The effect is to give smaller companies, such as Cintas and Masco, as much weight as Goliaths such as GE.

So far, Rydex's approach has paid off. From the ETF's November 2006 launch through May 6, it gained 6.2% annualized. That compares with 3.9% annualized for the Dow Jones industrial average and 5.2% for the market-cap-weighted S&P industrials. (The fund charges 0.50% in annual expenses.) And with manufacturing output having jumped at an annual rate of 9.1% in the first quarter of 2011, industrial stocks look appealing.

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Big moves in individual stocks can throw an equal-weighted index out of whack. Rydex seeks to keep positions close by rebalancing its holdings quarterly.

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