This ETF gives investors a way to play regional banks, a sub-sector of the financial sector that offers a unique risk/return profile relative to traditional financial exposure. Whereas financial funds such as XLF are dominated by large cap companies, KRE maintains significant exposure to small and mid cap banking stocks, many of which are not impacted by the factors that drive performance of big Wall Street banks. KRE, like many State Street ETFs, is linked to an equal weighted index. That results in a balanced portfolio that avoids big concentrations in a handful of stocks--a potential drawback found in the other two regional banks ETFs (RKH, IAT). KRE doesn't cast quite as wide a net as IAT--the SPDR has fewer holdings--but the weighting methodology delivers a better balance among all holdings and results in a significant weighting to small cap stocks. In addition to these allocation advantages, KRE is cheaper in terms of bottom line expense ratio. IAT and RKH are also options for similar exposure, but we like KRE as the preferred means of gaining regional bank exposure through the ETF wrapper.
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