U.S. Markets closed

Investors Tepid on Apple ETFs as Stock Soars


Shares of Apple (AAPL), the largest U.S. company by market value, are up 17.3% since the start of the second quarter, an arguably stunning move in such a short amount of time for a company with a market value of almost $550 billion.

Apple’s previously announced 7-for-1 share split has not yet taken place, meaning the stock still resides in lofty territory near $640. Even with that, investors have not been scurrying to exchange traded funds with the largest exposure to Apple as the stock approaches levels last seen in the fourth quarter of 2012. [Apple Lifts Tech ETFs...Again]

Nearly 90 ETFs feature Apple as a top-10 holding, but not all can legitimately wear the moniker “Apple ETF.” However, several of the ETFs with the largest weights to Apple have suffered second-quarter outflows despite the stock’s stellar run.

One of the more glaring examples is the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) . The largest tech sector ETF has lost $291.6 million in assets this quarter despite regular visits to the new 52-week high club. [New High for Old Tech ETF]

More puzzling is that investors have put $148.4 million in new capital to work in the Vanguard Information Technology Index ETF (VGT) . VGT is all of two basis points less expensive than XLK. By opting for the less expensive option, investors take on VGT which has underperformed XLK this year and this year quarter. VGT’s Apple exposure at the end of April was 14% compared to XLK’s Apple weight of 15.4% as of May 29.

In another curious situation PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) , the NASDAQ-100 tracking ETF, has lost over $2.1 billion this quarter. QQQ’s weight to Apple is 13.6%, or almost 560 basis points more than its weight to Microsoft (MSFT), the ETF’s second-largest holding.

However, the bulk of QQQ’s second-quarter outflows were seen in April as the ETF has raked in $874.1 million over the past month, according to PowerShares data. That makes sense as all of QQQ’s top-10 holdings have traded higher over that time.

The iShares U.S. Technology ETF (IYW) , iShares Global Tech ETF (IXN) and the iShares North American Tech ETF (IGM) have average weights to Apple of more than 14%. As a group, those ETFs have attracted just over $14 million in new assets combined this quarter. IYW, which has an Apple weight of $18.3% percent, has seen inflows of just over $44 million while IXN and IGM have lost a combined $30 million. [Chart of the Day: Awesome Apple]

One ETF with a significant Apple allocation that has recently seen impressive asset growth is the Fidelity MSCI Information Technology Index ETF (FTEC) . FTEC devotes 14.6% of its weight to the iPhone maker.

At the end of April, the ETF had $89 million in assets, but $75 million has come into the ETF since the start of the second quarter.

Technology Select Sector SPDR



Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of Apple, Microsoft and QQQ.