This ETF is one of several funds offering exposure to the U.S. materials sector, a corner of the market that may be appealing for investors looking to gain indirect exposure to commodity prices through the stocks of companies engaged in the extraction or production of natural resources. Because the materials sector often accounts for a small portion of broad-based benchmarks, XLB may be a useful tool for long-term investors looking for more balanced exposure to the U.S. equity market. It can also be handy for those looking to implement a shorter-term tilt towards the materials sector. Like most Sector SPDRs, XLB's appeal lies in its cost efficiency and liquidity; it is among the cheapest funds in the Materials ETFdb Category, and has a higher average daily volume than any comparable fund. XLB is, however, somewhat concentrated; it has far fewer holdings than funds such as VAW, and allocations to the biggest components are significant. The equal-weighted RTM may have some appeal to those seeking more balanced representation of the materials sector, while IRV could be appealing as an international option.
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