Plenty of investors think of the Nasdaq Composite and exchange traded funds such as the PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) as technology sector heavy.
That is not inaccurate. QQQ, one of the largest U.S. ETFs of any type with $41.6 billion in assets under management, allocates 56.5% of its weight to tech stocks. Six of the ETF’s top-10 holdings, a group that includes Apple (NasdaqGM AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT), are classified as tech stocks. [Usual Suspects not Lifting Tech ETFs]
However, it has not been tech that has been driving the Nasdaq higher in recent days.
“Year-to-date through November 15th, the average stock in the Nasdaq 100 was up a whopping 39.90%,” according to Bespoke Investment Group. “The average stock in the Nasdaq 100 is down 0.41% since then, but the divergence in sector performance has been stark.”
That stark divergence comes by way of the health care sector, which on in the Nasdaq 100, QQQ’s underlying index, means biotechnology stocks. Health care stocks in the Nasdaq 100 are positive since Nov. 15 and the index’s only other sector that can say that is consumer staples, which has a modest due in large part to a big jump last week by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR).
Of the 10 best stocks in QQQ since Nov. 15, six are biotechs, but of the 10 worst since that date, seven are technology or consumer discretionary names, according to Bespoke. The bottom dwellers include high-fliers like Tesla (TSLA) and Facebook. Some of QQQ’s 10 best performers since Nov. 15 include Biogen (BIIB), Celgene (CELG) and Gilead (GILD). [Tesla Fires Pressure This ETF]
Those stocks combine for 6.5% of QQQ’s weight compared to 2.6% combined for Facebook and Tesla.
Investors looking for an avenue to the Nasdaq 100 sans tech can consider the First Trust NASDAQ-100 Ex-Technology Sector Index Fund (QQXT) . QQXT allocates 21.2% of its weight to the health care sector compared to 13.9% for QQQ.
One potential drawback to QQXT is its 45.3 weight to consumer discretionary, more than double that of QQQ. To be fair, that is a drawback for QQXT if Tesla continues falling and names like Amazon (AMZN) and Comcast (CMCSA), to name a pair, experience price retrenchment.
Although QQQ has slightly outpaced QQXT since Nov. 15, the latter is having a stellar year with a 32.5% gain. QQXT has $84 million in assets, 28.5% of which have come into the fund this year. [Take the Nasdaq, Leave the Tech]
First Trust NASDAQ-100 Ex-Technology Sector Index Fund
Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of QQQ, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google.