While these funds are heavily weighted in GE, they are not solely reliant on the company for their performance. On the contrary, although GE has struggled throughout this year, IYJ and XLI have still gained 23% and 20% in 2009 through Dec. 18.
GE is not the only similarity between these two funds. In fact, aside from differences in weighting, both instruments share the same 10 top holdings. Among these is another prominent Buffett play: BNI. This railroad is a minor holding accounting for 3% of XLI and 2% of IYJ.
In all, I feel that the strongest play on GE and Buffett is XLI. Because of their similarities, the decision largely comes down to the variations in expense ratios and size. In both of these categories, the SPDR fund comes out on top.XLI, which has nearly $2 billion assets under management, charges a 0.21% fee. That is considerably lower than IYJ, which charges 0.48%. The iShares fund has $273 million under management. While I would advise investors to go with XLI, either of these instruments would be an excellent way to follow Professor Buffett into the new year.
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