Beyond Facebook: Other Reasons to Friend Social Media ETF

August 19th at 9:00am by Tom Lydon

It has been a good year to be long Facebook (NasdaqGM: FB). Shares of Mark Zuckerberg’s social media company have surged 32.4% year-to-date. Facebook’s blowout second-quarter earnings report was the major catalyst. That report sent the stock up 41.6% in the past month and Facebook even spent a few days trading above its $38 IPO price earlier this month.

Facebook’s good fortune has predictably been good news for the Global X Social Media Index ETF (NasdaqGS: SOCL). SOCL debuted in late 2011, before Facebook’s IPO, but even before that IPO, SOCL was framed as “the Facebook ETF.” The fund made good on that perception, becoming the first ETF to add Facebook to its lineup. Facebook became part of SOCL just a week after its IPO. [Which ETFs Will Like Facebook?]

For over a year, SOCL has had one of the largest allocations to Facebook of any ETF and during the times when shares of Facebook struggled, that was a burden for SOCL from a perception standpoint. However, the reality is SOCL has been an impressive performer this year and Facebook is far from the only reason why. In fact, the ETF is up 34.2% this year, a run that is slightly ahead of Facebook.

Facebook currently occupies a 10.8% weight in SOCL, so it is fair to say the stock is an important driver of the ETF’s returns. Still, some of SOCL’s other holdings have also been significant contributors to the fund’s bullish ways. It is often forgotten that SOCL was constructed as a play on the growth of social media on an international level. Five of the ETF’s top-10 holdings are not American companies. [More Good News For Social Media ETF]

That includes the fund’s top-two holdings, Sina (NasdaqGM: SINA) and Tencent Holdings. Those are Chinese firms and China is SOCL’s second-largest country weight at 28%. China exposure has played a crucial role in SOCL’s success this year because technology stocks have been among the top performers in what has been otherwise dismal years for stocks in the world’s second-largest economy. [Tech ETFs: Best of the China Bunch]

In addition to having one of the largest weights to Facebook among ETFs, it is often forgotten that SOCL has one of the largest ETF allocations to LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD), a stock that has more than doubled this year. Internet search stocks have helped as well. Google (NasdaqGM: GOOG) is up 18.5% this year while Yandex (NasdaqGM: YNDX), the Google of Russia, has surged 44%.

LinkedIn, Yandex and Google combine for nearly 20% of SOCL’s weight, proving the point that this may be “the Facebook ETF,” but Facebook is nowhere close to being the only reason the fund has surged in 2013.

Global X Social Media Index ETF

ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post. Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of Google and Facebook.

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.

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