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ETF Exposure to the Dreamliner Trade

Stocks in this article: ITA BA UTX FAA LUV XLI

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- After years of delays and hiccups, Boeing (BA) has finally delivered its first 787 Dreamliner jetliner.

The long-awaited aircraft, which has been lauded for its unique features and standout fuel efficiency, touched down in Japan early Wednesday, met by hundreds of fans. According to a report from Reuters, All Nippon Airways has inked a deal to receive 55 Dreamliner jetliners by early 2018. ANA is expected to put the Dreamliner into service in late October.

There are a number of ETFs available that provide investors with exposure to the manufacturers and service providers that are dedicated to helping consumers take to the skies.

For example, investors can use a fund like the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace & Defense Index Fund (ITA) to target a combination of big name aircraft manufacturers and parts suppliers. Top holdings underlying ITA include Boeing, United Technologies (UTX), Precision Castparts (PCP) and Lockheed Martin (LMT).

It is also possible to gain exposure to popular airlines. The Guggenheim Airline ETF (FAA) is headlined by firms including Delta (DAL), United Continental (UAL) and Southwest Airlines (LUV). Aside from these U.S.-based goliaths FAA also taps into the global airline industry. ANA, Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Deutsche Lufthansa can also be found among its top 10 positions.

Of these two categories of funds, conservative investors would be best off sticking to the former. Although it has run into its fair share of headwinds as global economic turmoil weighs on investor confidence, ITA has managed to outperform broader-based industrial ETFs like the Industrial Select Sector SPDR (XLI) over the most recent three-month period.

FAA, on the other hand, has been unable to find footing, dramatically underperforming broad market indices. Year to date, the fund has tumbled nearly 30%. The skies do not look clear for the industry looking ahead, either. Issues including rising fuel prices and economic turmoil could make 2012 a rough year for these firms as well.

Aside from their paltry performance in 2011 and the gloomy outlook for the months ahead, airline ETFs are inherently volatile and have also struggled to gather investor interest; FAA's average daily trading volume currently sit just slightly above 11,000.

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