Dividend stocks, which make up a quarter of both funds tend to be interest rate sensitive because their high yields are less compelling when investors can switch to bonds for higher yields and lower volatility. The
iShares Select Dividend ETF
lagged behind the S&P 500 for most of the Bernanke induced sell off that started in late May.
In that same period the
iShares US Preferred Stock ETF
iShares International Preferred Stock ETF
dropped 6.8% and 9% respectively as the S&P 500 went down 6%. However the S&P 500 made a short term bottom in late June and while it has recovered much of that decline neither PFF nor IPFF has recovered.
The MLP space has fared a little better. The
Alerian MLP ETF
is down 3.7% since the Bernanke press conference compared to a 2.1% for the SP 500.
Comparing these segments to a broad equity benchmark is not an apples to apples comparison but where higher yielding holdings are typically thought to be less volatile than the broad market prospective fund holders should know that will not always be true if interest rates go up meaningfully.
At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.