Market Overview

Big Names Aren't Big In This Tech ETF, But Big Returns Are

Big Names Aren't Big In This Tech ETF, But Big Returns Are

The technology sector, the S&P 500's largest sector exposure, continues driving U.S. equity markets higher. On Wednesday, more than 15 of the exchange traded funds hitting all-time highs were technology funds and that doesn't include the ETFs tracking tech-heavy benchmarks such as the NASDAQ-100.

Not surprisingly, some of tech's biggest names are boosting the sector's fortunes. Year-to-date, nine members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average are higher by at least 10 percent. Three are technology stocks: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Visa Inc. (NYSE: V). The combined market value of that trio is about $1.05 trillion.

So that should be good news for cap-weighted tech ETFs, or those funds that assign the largest weights to the holdings with the biggest market caps. And it has been, but the surprise among tech sector ETFs is the bullishness surrounding equal-weight funds. 

For example, the Guggenheim S&P 500 Equal Weight Technology ETF (NYSE: RYT) was one of the tech ETF's hitting record highs on Wednesday. RYT is an ETF that over its history, has received acclaim for providing investors some shelter when big-name tech stocks, such as Apple, falter. Conversely, it can be said RYT's recent performance is a pleasant surprise given its paltry weight to the iPad maker. 

As of March 14, RYT's Apple allocation was 1.72 percent while cap-weighted rivals allocate 15 percent or more to the iPhone maker. In fact, RYT allocates just 4.9 percent of its combined weight to Apple, Cisco and Visa. That trio combines for almost 22 percent of the weight of the largest cap-weighted tech ETF, the Technology Select Sector SPDR (NYSE: XLK).

Due to its equal-weight methodology, RYT also features different industry allocations relative to XLK. For example, the high-flying semiconductor group is almost 14 percent of XLK's lineup, or that ETF's fifth-largest industry weight, but chip stocks are RYT's largest industry weight at almost 24 percent.

With a price-to-earnings ratio of 22, RYT, probably by way of more exposure to small-caps, is pricier than XLK.

Based on AltaVista's 2017 estimates, XLK should carry a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.9, just under the P/E of 18 the research firm has on the S&P 500. While that doesn't necessarily qualify as a “deep discount,” only XLK's financial services and healthcare counterparts are less expensive.


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