Utilities ETFs outperform as investors make defensive bets

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Exchange-traded funds exposed to utilities outperformed on Friday as investors fled stocks and other risky assets. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund
XLU,
+0.98%
was up 0.5%, one of the only ETFs tracking the 11 sectors of the S&P 500 to be above water. Invesco’s S&P 500 Equal Weight Utilities ETF
RYU,
+1.43%
jumped 0.6%, and both the Vanguard Utilities ETF
VPU,
+1.00%
and the iShares U.S. Utilities ETF
IDU,
+1.04%
gained 0.5%. Stocks
SPX,
-0.72%
lost ground Friday after some analysts pointed out that an ambitious fiscal relief plan from President-Elect Joe Biden was likely to face an uphill battle in Congress, even as economic data continued to disappoint.

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