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Thanks to its most recent earnings beat, Apple (AAPL - Analyst Report) is once again an investor darling. The tech giant sees its price around the $600/share mark yet again, representing a nearly 100% increase from the stock’s 52 week lows.
Due to the sheer size of Apple from a market cap perspective, most investors have managed to benefit from this incredible trend. In fact, since Apple is not only one of the best performers in the S&P 500 but the largest firm in the index as well, pretty much everyone has seen at least part of Apple’s success trickle down into their personal portfolios either via an individual stock purchase or any number of broad based market funds.
Yet while AAPL’s performance has been incredibly impressive, the run-up in price by the world’s largest company has made the firm a huge component of virtually all the tech sector ETFs. For example, the California-based company accounts for nearly 19.3% of (XLK - ETF report) and 18.7% in (VGT - ETF report), the two most popular tech ETFs on the market today (see Three Technology ETFs Outperforming XLK).
For investors who have bought into these funds—or broad large cap focused ETFs—and still hold Apple as an individual security as well, their concentration in the tech giant may be bordering on destructive at this point. Granted, this extra exposure in Apple has paid off handsomely in the past, one has to wonder just how long this trend can continue.
This isn’t to say that Apple shouldn’t be a part of a portfolio or that a sell order is demanded for any fund with an allocation to the tech giant. On the contrary, Apple seems to be a key component of many portfolios but there is only so much an investor should be willing to devote to a single stock (see more at the Zacks ETF Center).
If you are one of the people that are starting to get concerned about a potential over-allocation to Apple, but are still looking to maintain a large amount of exposure to the technology space, there are plenty of other tech ETFs to choose from. Below, we have highlighted three of these products that can provide investors excellent access to the high growth market while limiting a ‘doubling down’ issue on Apple at the same time:
iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index Fund (IGV - ETF report)
This ETF focuses in on the software side of the technology world, completely forgoing exposure to companies like Apple and its hardware brethren. Instead, the product tracks the S&P North American Technology-Software index which produces a fund that has 54 holdings in total (See Mid Cap ETF Investing 101).
Current top holdings include Microsoft (MSFT), Salesforce.com (CRM), and Oracle (ORCL), while from a style perspective, growth firms dominate. Investors should also note that the product is tilted towards large caps (58%), although mid caps (28%), and small caps (14%) do receive decent allocations as well.
This tech ETF charges investors 48 basis points a year for its exposure while seeing volume of about 130,000 shares a day. This helps to produce a relatively tight bid ask spread, keeping total costs low in this Apple-avoiding product.
PowerShares S&P SmallCap Information Technology Portfolio (PSCT - ETF report)
If investors are looking to limit their exposure to the world’s largest company but still hold assets in the broad U.S. tech space, it only makes sense to look at the small cap segment instead. This can be done by looking at PSCT an ETF that follows the S&P SmallCap 600 Capped Information Technology Index (read For Japan ETFs, Think Small Caps).
This benchmark holds 128 securities in total and gives investors a pretty even split in terms of small cap and micro cap securities. For sectors, semiconductors take the top spot at 26% while software (20%), and electronic components (18%) round out the top three. Growth again dominates from a style look, although value securities do account for about one-fourth of the total as well.
Despite the small cap focus, this tech ETF is relative cheap, charging investors just 29 basis points a year in fees. Thanks to this, and the relatively tight bid ask spread, investors can expect low total costs in this sector ETF.
iShares MSCI ACWI ex-US Information Technology Sector Index Fund (AXIT - ETF report)
Although Apple may have a global reach, the fact remains that the firm is still a U.S. company. As a result, investors can gain global tech exposure without Apple’s influence by inspecting any of the ex-US products that are in the space.
One way to do this is to look at one of the few internationally focused tech ETFs that are on the market today, including AXIT. This ETF tracks the MSCI All Country World ex USA Information Technology Index which is a cap weighted benchmark of companies in both the developed and emerging world (read Three Overlooked Emerging Market ETFs).
Currently, the ETF holds 84 stocks in its basket, including top weightings to Samsung, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSM), and SAP AG (SAP). This strategy helps to product a product that has a tilt towards the semiconductor industry (36%), while electronic components (22%), and software (10%) round out the top three from an industry perspective.
In terms of countries, Asian nations dominate; Japan (29%), Taiwan (20%), and South Korea (15%), take the top three spots followed by Germany and then China to round out the top five. Meanwhile, from a cap and style look, blend securities account for nearly half the portfolio while large caps have an even bigger stranglehold on the capitalization of the fund as these securities make up 78% of the fund.
Unfortunately, the international focus does produce a relatively expensive fund as the fee comes in at 48 basis points a year. While this isn’t too bad, the real cost comes from the wide bid ask spread, as roughly 700 shares changes a day. Thanks to this low level but the relatively high liquidity of underlying securities, investors will be able to get into the product but may have to pay for the exposure by sharply raising their target price.
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