The SPDR Utilities Select Sector ETF /zigman2/quotes/206645117/composite XLU +0.22% had its best day ever on Tuesday, as the defensive sector benefited from increased fears that an economic recession was inevitable. The utilities sector tracker (XLU) shot up 12.8% to $57.66 to be the best performer among SPDR ETFs tracking the S&P 500's /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.15% 11 key sectors. The gain surpassed the ETF's previous record gain of 12.1% on Oct. 13, 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis. The ETF started trading in December 1998. Tuesday's gain was in the face of a sharp selloff in Treasury prices (rise in yields), with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbing basis 26.9 basis points to 0.997%. Utilities often act as a bond proxy, given their relatively high dividend yields and relatively stable stock prices, resulting from their relatively stable earnings streams. Among the XLU's best performers Tuesday, shares of Southern Co. /zigman2/quotes/208000495/composite SO +0.26% charged 18.8% higher, Consolidated Edison Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207137172/composite ED +0.05% ran up 18.0% and Exelon Corp. /zigman2/quotes/205982254/composite EXC +0.34% powered 18.0% higher. The XLU has lost 18.1% over the past month, while the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.15% has dropped 25.2%. The XLU's dividend yield is was 3,31% as of Tuesday's closing price, while the implied yield for the S&P 500 was 2.41%, according to FactSet.