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Most Searched ETFs: Tech Talk


Even with some Friday doldrums caused by marquee names such as Visa (NYSE: V), the Dow’s largest component, and Amazon (AMZN), the S&P 500 managed to close little changed on the week.

Amazon tumbled Friday after a downbeat second-quarter earnings report and guidance that was less-than-impressive. The e-commerce giant was far from the only technology and Internet-related stock to step into the earnings confessional this week.

A broad swath of big-name tech, Internet and social media stocks reported this week, prompting increased searches for technology sector exchange traded funds. Not surprisingly, the PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) , the NASDAQ-100 tracking ETF, was this week’s most searched ETF on ETF Trends.

As we surmised early in the week, QQQ would be in focus due to an earnings avalanche that included reports from Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), Gilead Sciences (GILD) and the aforementioned disappointment from Amazon. Those stocks combine for over 31% of QQQ’s weight. Even with Amazon’s Friday spill, QQQ finished the week higher by nearly 1%. [QQQ Faces Big Tests]

Tech’s time in the spotlight, though it rarely leaves, also helped the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) and the First Trust NASDAQ Technology Dividend Index Fund (TDIV) to spots among the 10 most searched ETFs of the week. XLK was solid on the week, proving no Amazon exposure can sometimes prove advantageous.

Rising tech sector dividends have been a bonus for XLK and TDIV, with the latter rising 12% this year. The increased allure of tech as a legitimate avenue for income investors to grab dividend growth helped TDIV to its first appearance as the most searched dividend ETF of the week. [Tech Dividends Help These ETFs]

Speaking of growth sectors that often captivate investors’ attention, the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) makes return appearance to this week’s most searched list thanks to Puma Biotechnology (PBYI). The stock quadrupled Wednesday after the company said its experimental breast cancer treatment, neratinib, proved successful in a Phase III trial.

XBI had the good fortune of being the only biotech ETF with Puma exposure. The surge in market cap took Puma from less than 1.4% of XBI’s weight on Tuesday to almost 4.7% of the ETF as of Thursday’s close. [Puma Pumps up Biotech ETFs]

Global ETFs have been in style in recent weeks and this week’s search trends confirmed as much. The EGShares Emerging Markets Consumer ETF (ECON) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) battled it out for top honors among the most searched diversified emerging markets ETF in a race that is still too close to call.

With China ETFs continuing to gain strength, the SPDR S&P China ETF (GXC) makes its first appearance on the most searched list. GXC has recently lagged its larger rival, the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI) , but the former offers broader exposure to China and, over longer time frames, has displayed noticeable out-performance of FXI.

The Vanguard Short-Term Bond ETF (BSV) was the week’s most searched bond ETF while the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) the lead among commodities funds.

PowerShares QQQ


Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, EEM, QQQ and GLD.