Nasdaq-100 ETF Breakout Hampered by Google

January 20th at 10:27am by Tom Lydon

The closely watched Nasdaq-100 index is trying hard to break free of strong resistance that has been in place since the beginning of 2011.

PowerShares QQQ (QQQ), which follows the Nasdaq-100, is aiming for new highs from the subprime meltdown but disappointing results from top holding Google (GOOG) weighed on the exchange traded fund on Friday.

Google shares slipped 8% after the search giant’s quarterly earnings fell short of analyst expectations. The stock is the third-largest holding in PowerShares QQQ at 6.1% of the portfolio.

Yet other top holdings such as Intel (INTC) and Microsoft (MSFT) were rising Friday in the wake of solid quarterly results, along with tech bellwether IBM (IBM).

The Nasdaq-100 ETF is up about 7% so far this year to outperform the S&P 500.

On Thursday, the Nasdaq-100 closed at an 11-year high, reports J.C. Parets at All Star Charts. Still, PowerShares QQQ is well below the 2000 peak before the dot-com bubble burst.

Europe’s debt crisis is a cause for concern on the global economy, but some analysts think tech ETFs are well-positioned to weather the storm.

In Europe, governments and consumers will be cut back spending as they meet fiscal budgets, increasing fears of weakening growth in Europe, Dylan Cathers, S&P Capital IQ Equity Analyst, wrote in a research note. China, a major driver of tech spending, is projected to expand 7.8% this year, compared to 9.2% in 2011. The U.S. unemployment rate still weighs on the economy. Additionally, flooding in Thailand has created a shortage in hard-disc drives.

Gartner (IT) recently lowered its outlook on global information technology spending for 2012 to 3.7% growth from 4.6%.

S&P analysts, though, believe the recent payrolls numbers and consumer credit reports will bolster the technology sector. In addition, the introduction of Windows 8 in the second half, along with interest in mobile devices and demand for servers and storage devices will support tech companies.

“Despite some negatives, we believe there are worthwhile investments in IT,” Cathers said.

The S&P analysts singled out IBM, Oracle (ORCL), Microsoft and Apple Inc. (NasdaqGS: AAPL). These companies are also major component holdings in tech and information technology ETFs.

Vanguard Information Technology Index Fund (VGT) tries to reflect the performance of the MSCI U.S. Investable Market Information 25/50 Index. VGT has an expense ratio of 0.19%.

SPDR Technology Select Sector Fund (XLK) tries to reflect the performance of large-cap tech stocks, holding various IT industry components, such as computers, software and IT services. XLK has an expense ratio of 0.20%.

S&P gives these ETFs an “overweight” score based on performance and cost factors.

PowerShares QQQ

For more information on the tech sector, visit our technology category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.