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Superior Avenue for the 5G Phenomenon

This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.

One of this year's biggest themes in the communication services and technology sectors is the move to 5G telecommunications systems.

Also known as fifth generation telecommunications technology, 5G is garnering attention because it is expected to impact an array of industries and technologies. While 5G's impact is expected to widespread, its accessibility via exchange traded funds (ETFs) is mostly prosaic.

Sure, investors can tap 5G via basic technology ETFs, but that could leave them wanting more. More direct 5G exposure and more upside. The Pacer Benchmark Data & Infrastructure Real Estate SCTR ETF (SRVR) is emerging as the premier avenue for accessing the 5G theme via an ETF.

SRVR tries to reflect the performance of the Benchmark Data & Infrastructure Real Estate SCTR Index, which is comprised of real estate investment trusts that specialize in the logistics required to make e-commerce work. The portfolio includes warehouses, distribution centers and similar facilities that allow for e-commerce companies to ship goods to their final destinations, sometimes within hours.

“In order for the 5G catalyst to be felt in investors’ portfolios, we are going to need to finish the buildout of 4G,” said Kevin Kelly, managing partner at Benchmark Investments, in an interview. “Think about it this way: If a 5G signal is dropped, the data then has to go down to 4G.  5G packets of data are so dense and rich with information that they cannot go far and are easily broken. A 5G packet of information will be hard pressed to go through walls let alone through a semi-truck driving through an intersection in autonomous driving terms."

SRVR Asserts Itself

SRVR, which debuted last May, is already making its presence felt among real estate ETFs and 5G investments. Home to 27 stocks, SRVR is up 10.21 percent year-to-date compared to 7.05 percent for the Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) .

SRVR's roster is dominated by three names – American Tower Corp. (AMT) , Crown Castle International Corp. (CCI) and Equinix Inc. (EQIX) . Those three stocks combine for approximately 45 percent of the fund's weight.

“The start of 5G began in the Fall of 2018 with Verizon in five select cities,” said Kelly. “It is still being tested by carriers. The durability of 5G is a multi-decade story that has not even started to manifest itself.”

While SRVR is tech-centric relative to traditional real estate ETFs, the Pacer fund still serves up an impressive income stream. The fund's dividend yield is 3.67 percent with a price-to-funds-from operations ratio of 16.57x, according to issuer data. Funds from operations, or FFO, is the common real estate investment trust (REIT) valuation metric.

“Compared to traditional REITs, it has slightly lower dividend than the FTSE Nareit All Equity REITs at 4.37% but the Price/FFO is in-line with broad-based and less expensive than core property types like industrial real estate which trades at 18.01x,” said Kelly.

More Than Just 5G

While the 5G theme is compelling and potentially durable, there is more to SRVR than just 5G. SRVR components are at the real estate forefront of other booming technology themes, including blockchain, cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT).

As more companies devote more resources to cloud computing, cybersecurity and device connectivity, that requires more space for servers and related fare, themes SRVR components are poised to benefit from.

“The SRVR index is the foundation of technology,” adds Kelly. “Cloud computing, 5G, and other ‘themes’ are not even close to encompassing what the SRVR index represents as a foundational infrastructure for intelligence. SRVR is enabling the ‘Future Four Horsemen’ that will revolutionize our daily lives.”

*SRVR performance since inception through Dec. 31, 2018

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