In mid-April, tech ETFs pulled ahead of the broader market which has been weighed down by concerns about the economic outlook and uncertainty around the financial sector.
For example, the three month performance for technology ETF iShares S&P Global Technology (NYSEArca: IXN) is charted below:
There are several alternatives for ETF investors in the technology field that vary by geography, sector focus and position.
The broadest technology ETF is the PowerShares QQQ (Nasdaq: QQQQ) which tracks the Nasdaq 100 Index. Top holdings include Apple, QUALCOMM, Microsoft, Google and Research in Motion.
Getting more specific is the previously mentioned iShares S&P Global Technology (NYSEArca: IXN) which tracks an index of 1,200 global makers of computer, telecom, components and ICs. Top holdings include Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Cisco and Intel. International holdings include Nokia, Taiwan Semiconductor and Samsung. On the domestic front, iShares offers the Dow Jones U.S. Technology Sector Index Fund (NYSEArca: IYW) with similar top holdings of Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Cisco and Intel.
State Street’s Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (Amex: XLK) includes telecom services in its mix and has top holdings of AT&T, Microsoft, Apple, Cisco and IBM. Vanguard’s Information Technology ETF (Amex: VGT) also holds Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Cisco and Google.
Subsector Technology ETFs
In the subsectors, iShares offers three flavors of the S&P North American Technology Index: Multimedia Networking Index Fund (NYSEArca: IGN), Semiconductors Index Fund (NYSEArca: IGW) and Software Index Fund (NYSEArca: IGV).
State Street’s SPDR S&P Semiconductor ETF (Amex: XSD) also specializes in the semiconductor subsector.
PowerShares offers four subsector technology ETFs that use the rules-based dynamic selection and weighting approach. The PowerShares ETFs include the Dynamic Networking Portfolio (Amex: PXQ), Dynamic Semiconductors Portfolio (Amex: PSI), Dynamic Software Portfolio (Amex: PSJ) and Hardware & Consumer Electronics Portfolio (Amex: PHW).
Short and UltraShort Technology ETFs
On the short and ultrashort side, offerings also range from broad to subsector.
ProShares Short QQQ (Amex: PSQ) and UltraShort QQQ (Amex: QID) are short against the Nasdaq 100. The ProShares Ultrashort Technology (Amex: REW) is short against the tech sector and the ProShares Ultrashort Semiconductor (Amex: SSG) is short against the semiconductor subsector.