Enter the Steel Industry with This Steel ETF

Workers in a steel factory
••• Buena Vista Images/Stone/Getty Images

Sector exchange traded funds (ETFs) offer investors the ability to gain exposure to an industry without having to corner the market on every company’s stock that trades in that sector. So, for example, if you wanted to invest in the steel industry, you could buy a steel ETF instead of making multiple trades to collect in your portfolio shares of steel companies. ETFs also come with certain tax benefits.

It is possible to target a steel index, but even then you have to manage trading multiple stocks in order to fill your basket and get the targeted index price. In both situations, index or individual stocks, you have to pay commissions and fees on the multiple trades, costs that can add up rather quickly.

For those reasons, it can be more beneficial to buy a steel ETF, if that is your target sector. With one trade, you get instant exposure to the industry and you save on commissions.

There are downsides to this strategy. You are limited to the companies in the fund. The ETF could shut down because of a lack of trading volume, although you would still get your market value. The other downside is the limited options available. The only actively traded steel ETF on the market as of August 2018 is SLX.

If you want to use a steel ETF to diversify your portfolio, hedge certain risk, or just target an opportunity in the steel industry, researching SLX should be your next step.

SLX - Market Vectors Steel ETF

This steel ETF from Van Eck Global also tracks the NASDAQ OMX Global Steel Index. Some of its top holdings include Rio Tinto, US Steel Corporation, Vale, and Posco. It has been around since October 2006 and also has listed options (calls and puts).

SLX has been described as tradeable and efficient by some analysts but it does not offer a fully comprehensive gauge of the entire steel market.

List of Base and Industrial Metals ETFs and ETNs

If you're interested in other metal ETFs, this list could be helpful:

  • BDD - Power Shares DB Base Metals Double Long ETN
  • BDG - Power Shares DB Base Metals Long ETN
  • BOM - Power Shares DB Base Metals Double Short ETN
  • BOS - Power Shares DB Base Metals Short ETN
  • DBB - Power Shares DB Base Metals ETF
  • GRWN - iPath Pure Beta Softs ETN
  • HEVY - iPath Pure Beta Industrial Metals ETN
  • JJM - iPath DJ UBS Industrial Metals Total Return Sub Index ETN
  • PICK - iShares MSCI Global Select Metals & Mining Producers Fund
  • REMX - Market Vectors Rare Earth Strategic Metals ETF
  • RJZ - ELEMENTS Rogers International Commodity Metal ETN
  • SLX - Market Vectors Steel ETF
  • UBG - UBS E TRACS CMCI Industrial Metals Total Return ETN
  • UBM - UBS E TRACS CMCI Industrial Metals Total Return ETN
  • XME - SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF

Disclaimer: At the time of publication of this article, I do not have any open positions in SLX or any of the equities included in the funds.