The transportation sector has been in a sharp decline over the last four months, despite the attractive fundamentals of lower energy costs.
This weakness has been readily apparent in the iShares Dow Jones Transport. Avg. (ETF) (NYSE:IYT), which tracks 20 large cap airline, trucking and railroad companies. This exchange-traded fund currently has $832 million in total assets and charges an expense ratio of 0.44 percent.
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Since the beginning of the year, IYT has fallen over 10 percent amid fears over a global slowdown in economic activity that could threaten the transport of goods and services.
Despite the grim price trend depicted in this sector chart, one industry group is attempting to overcome that slide by capitalizing on consumer activity.
An Airline Outlier In The Sector
The U.S. Global Jets ETF (NASDAQ:JETS) is the only ETF dedicated to an index of airline operators and manufacturers. This fund debuted in April of this year and has already accumulated over $47 million in total assets.
Top holdings in JETS include:
- Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL)
- United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL)
- Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV)
In addition, this ETF sports an expense ratio of 0.60 percent.
Despite a difficult start to the summer that saw a drop from high to low of over 10 percent, JETS has rebounded significantly in July.
One reason for the recent strength is the solid quarterly results reported by Southwest Airlines. The domestic carrier reported a record profit amid cheaper fuel costs and solid demand. Energy prices in particular are a big driver for airline profits, as this commodity represents a large portion of their fixed costs.
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On Thursday, the United States Oil Fund LP (ETF) (NYSE:USO) dropped to its lowest level since March and is threatening to break below its 2015 floor. A continued downtrend in oil prices alongside solid consumer activity could likely act as a tailwind for publicly traded airline companies.
Despite the concentrated nature of the JETS index, its stand-alone advantage in a popular area of the transportation industry makes it a niche ETF worthy of attention.
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