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Is First Trust Technology AlphaDEX ETF (FXL) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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The First Trust Technology AlphaDEX ETF (FXL - Free Report) was launched on 05/08/2007, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund designed to offer broad exposure to the Technology ETFs category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

Products that are based on market cap weighted indexes, which are strategies designed to reflect a specific market segment or the market as a whole, have traditionally dominated the ETF industry.

Because market cap weighted indexes provide a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, they work well for investors who believe in market efficiency.

If you're the kind of investor who would rather try and beat the market through good stock selection, then smart beta funds are your best choice; this fund class is known for tracking non-cap weighted strategies.

These indexes attempt to select stocks that have better chances of risk-return performance, based on certain fundamental characteristics or a combination of such characteristics.

Methodologies like equal-weighting, one of the simplest options out there, fundamental weighting, and volatility/momentum based weighting are all choices offered to investors in this space, but not all of them can deliver superior returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

Managed by First Trust Advisors, FXL has amassed assets over $1.03 billion, making it one of the larger ETFs in the Technology ETFs. FXL, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the StrataQuant Technology Index.

The StrataQuant Technology Index is a modified equal-dollar weighted index designed by the AMEX to objectively identify and select stocks from the Russell 1000 Index that may generate positive alpha relative to traditional passive style indices through the use of the AlphaDEX screening methodology.

Cost & Other Expenses

Cost is an important factor in selecting the right ETF, and cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins if all other fundamentals are the same.

With on par with most peer products in the space, this ETF has annual operating expenses of 0.61%.

FXL's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 0.33%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

ETFs offer diversified exposure and thus minimize single stock risk, but it is still important to delve into a fund's holdings before investing. Most ETFs are very transparent products and many disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

For FXL, it has heaviest allocation in the Information Technology sector --about 91.20% of the portfolio.

Looking at individual holdings, Switch, Inc. (class A) (SWCH - Free Report) accounts for about 2.05% of total assets, followed by Avnet, Inc. (AVT - Free Report) and Mandiant Inc. .

Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 17.97% of FXL's total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

Year-to-date, the First Trust Technology AlphaDEX ETF has lost about -28.07% so far, and is down about -26.35% over the last 12 months (as of 09/19/2022). FXL has traded between $91.32 and $138.38 in this past 52-week period.

The ETF has a beta of 1.19 and standard deviation of 31.13% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 106 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


First Trust Technology AlphaDEX ETF is an excellent option for investors seeking to outperform the Technology ETFs segment of the market. There are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider as well.

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK - Free Report) tracks Technology Select Sector Index and the Vanguard Information Technology ETF (VGT - Free Report) tracks MSCI US Investable Market Information Technology 25/50 Index. Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF has $38.84 billion in assets, Vanguard Information Technology ETF has $41.39 billion. XLK has an expense ratio of 0.10% and VGT charges 0.10%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Technology ETFs.

Bottom Line

To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center.

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