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Equal-Weighted Nasdaq ETF Dodges Apple Sell-Off


Technology sector ETFs that weight stocks by market cap with large positions in Apple (AAPL) have been hurt by the correction in the tech giant’s shares since September.

For example, the Nasdaq-100 PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) , one of the largest and most heavily traded ETFs on the market, is down 5% the past three months.

Apple is the largest holding at about 16% of the portfolio. The stock is off more than 20% for the trailing three months.

However, First Trust NASDAQ-100 Equal Weighted Index Fund (QQEW) has gained roughly 2% during the same period. The ETF allocates an equal amount to every stock in the portfolio and rebalances quarterly to maintain the equal-weighted strategy. Apple is currently less than 1% of the portfolio. [Equal-Weight Tech ETFs if You’re Shy About Apple]

“The equal weighting allows for smaller company performance to contribute as much as the large companies within the Index,” says First Trust, the ETF’s sponsor.

Investors should note that there are a variety of other ways to target the Nasdaq with ETFs that may not be as dependent on Apple in order to generate returns, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Thanks to its lower exposure level to Apple, QQEW has been able to outperform QQQ in the short term as Apple has fallen from its lofty heights. “Still, the product is extremely heavy in technology as this segment accounts for roughly 50% of the total exposure of the fund,” Zacks says.

The equal-weighted Nasdaq-100 ETF continues to lead QQQ with a break above its autumn highs, according to StockCharts.

First Trust NASDAQ-100 Equal Weighted Index Fund

Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own QQQ.

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