Paring Apple Exposure With Tech ETFs

With Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL) up 15.4% this year and its market value residing north of $740 billion, it might sound like heresy to consider technology sector exchange traded funds that do not feature substantial allocations to the world’s largest company.

Plenty of technology ETFs do feature significant Apple weights, several of which are investor favorites. For example, the $3 billion iShares U.S. Technology ETF (NYSEArca: IYW) of 20.6%, up from less than 19% just seven weeks ago. The Technology Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLK), the largest technology sector ETF with $13.1 billion in assets under management, has a nearly 18.1% weight to Apple.

Big weights to Apple are advantageous for the ETFs sporting that trait. Just look at the performance of the PowerShares QQQ (NasdaqGM: QQQ) against the S&P 500 over the past three years. Entering Monday, QQQ, which tracks the Nasdaq-100, is up 72.2% over the past three years compared to a gain of just under 61% for S&P 500 tracking ETFs. QQQ currently has an Apple weight of almost 15%. [A Preference for Nasdaq ETFs]

However, there have been times, and this is not to imply one is imminent, where it has been advantageous to hold technology ETFs with scant Apple exposure. One of those ETFs is the Guggenheim S&P Equal Weight Technology ETF (NYSEArca: RYT), which despite a less than 2% Apple weight, is up less than 3% this year. [Light on Apple not a Problem for This ETF]

“RYT follows what we think is a simple to understand approach. It takes the 65 stocks in the S&P 500 technology sector and equally weights them, with a quarterly rebalance. As such, FFIV and MCHP have similar weightings in RYT as APPL and MSFT. From an industry perspective, IT services (24% of assets) and semiconductors & semiconductor equipment (23%) companies have a larger weighting in RYT than in the Vanguard Information Technology ETF (NYSEArca: VGT),” said S&P Capital IQ in a new research note.

The First Trust Technology AlphaDEX Fund (NYSEArca: FXL), which is home to nearly $802 million in assets under management, does not feature Apple among its top 10 holdings and has a mere 1.3% allocation to the iPad maker. However, that has not stopped FXL from performing in-line with the Nasdaq Composite this year, meaning the ETF is up more than 4%.

FXL, like the other AlphaDEX ETFs, combines growth and value factors rather than relying on market value.