There are plenty of ways to determine whether an equity-sector ETF is ripe for the picking. When Morningstar’s ETF research team looks at sector funds, we consider all the possible variables including secular trends, macro-economic themes, and even sector momentum.
Though all of those factors are important, we think that the most important way to decide whether to invest in a sector ETF is based on fundamental valuation. ETFs are really just the sum of their underlying holdings. Investors could aggregate their implied fair value estimates for all of the stocks in a sector ETF to come up with a fair value for the entire fund. Of course, that would mean doing the valuation homework on literally hundreds of stocks, which generally isn’t very practical for most investors.
Luckily, Morningstar has an equity research team covering more than 2,000 stocks with the unique ability to do just that. The ETF team can aggregate and weight our equity fair value estimates for just about any U.S.-themed sector ETF out there. From this aggregation we can provide a fundamental perspective on whether a sector is priced cheaply or dearly.
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