Should You Invest in the Vanguard Utilities ETF (VPU)?

Sector ETF report for VPU

Launched on 01/26/2004, the Vanguard Utilities ETF (VPU) is a passively managed exchange traded fund designed to provide a broad exposure to the Utilities - Broad segment of the equity market.

An increasingly popular option among retail and institutional investors, passively managed ETFs offer low costs, transparency, flexibility, and tax efficiency; they are also excellent vehicles for long term investors.

Additionally, sector ETFs offer convenient ways to gain low risk and diversified exposure to a broad group of companies in particular sectors. Utilities - Broad is one of the 16 broad Zacks sectors within the Zacks Industry classification. It is currently ranked 14, placing it in bottom 13%.

Index Details

The fund is sponsored by Vanguard. It has amassed assets over $5.32 billion, making it one of the largest ETFs attempting to match the performance of the Utilities - Broad segment of the equity market. VPU seeks to match the performance of the MSCI US Investable Market Utilities 25/50 Index before fees and expenses.

The MSCI US Investable Market Utilities 25/50 Index comprises of stocks of large, mid-size, and small U.S. companies within the utilities sector.

Costs

Since cheaper funds tend to produce better results than more expensive funds, assuming all other factors remain equal, it is important for investors to pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.10%, making it one of the least expensive products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 2.79%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

ETFs offer a diversified exposure and thus minimize single stock risk but it is still important to delve into a fund's holdings before investing. Most ETFs are very transparent products and many disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation in the Utilities sector--about 99.40% of the portfolio.

Looking at individual holdings, Nextera Energy Inc. (NEE) accounts for about 14.85% of total assets, followed by Duke Energy Corp. (DUK) and Southern Co. (SO).

The top 10 holdings account for about 52.48% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has lost about -2.24% and it's up approximately 14.88% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 01/12/2022), respectively. VPU has traded between $128.27 and $156.40 during this last 52-week period.

The ETF has a beta of 0.45 and standard deviation of 24.81% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 66 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

Vanguard Utilities ETF carries a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Thus, VPU is a good option for those seeking exposure to the Utilities/Infrastructure ETFs area of the market. Investors might also want to consider some other ETF options in the space.

Fidelity MSCI Utilities Index ETF (FUTY) tracks MSCI USA IMI Utilities Index and the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) tracks Utilities Select Sector Index. Fidelity MSCI Utilities Index ETF has $1.23 billion in assets, Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF has $12.55 billion. FUTY has an expense ratio of 0.08% and XLU charges 0.12%.

Bottom Line

To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center.


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Vanguard Utilities ETF (VPU): ETF Research Reports
 
NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Southern Company The (SO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Duke Energy Corporation (DUK): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU): ETF Research Reports
 
Fidelity MSCI Utilities Index ETF (FUTY): ETF Research Reports
 
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