Cybersecurity ETF Back in Limelight Amid Russia/Ukraine Conflict

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week put a slew of assets under the microscope, and with that in mind, investors should not overlook cybersecurity stocks and exchange traded funds.

The First Trust Nasdaq Cybersecurity ETF (CIBR) is the king of cybersecurity ETFs. Showing that it’s correlated to the geopolitical conflict in Eastern Europe, CIBR gained 1.39% last Friday on volume that was more than double the daily average, pushing its weekly gain to north of 4% and its returns over the past month to 8.26%.

The $5.26 billion CIBR, which tracks the Nasdaq CTA Cybersecurity Index, is home to 35 stocks, several of which raced to record highs last week amid fears that Russia could use cyber warfare against Ukraine and against the West in retaliation for economic sanctions.

“There is a growing concern that massive cyber warfare could be on the near-term horizon, which would certainly catalyze an increase in spending around preventing sophisticated Russian-based cyber attacks going after datacenters, networks, vulnerability points, and other highly sensitive data,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note to clients last week.

Investors added $16.06 million to CIBR last week. That’s a modest sum relative to its assets under management tally, but there were only four trading days last week. Investors added $21.45 to CIBR on a year-to-date basis after pouring $1.9 billion into the fund last year.

Those flows could accelerate because some of the fund’s components stand to benefit from new cybersecurity spending driven by Russia’s move on Ukraine.

“Ives said the companies most likely to see higher sales in the near term are Palo Alto Networks Inc., Zscaler, Inc., CrowdStrike Holdings Inc., Tenable Holdings Inc., Varonis Systems Inc., Fortinet Inc., Telos Corp., Mandiant Inc. and CyberArk Software Ltd,” according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

In order, Palo Alto Networks, CrowdStrike Holdings, Mandiant, and Tenable Holding combine for almost 19% of CIBR’s roster, according to issuer data. Fortinet, Varonis Systems, and Zscaler combine for over 8%. With President Biden warning about the potential for cyberattacks, CIBR and its components could spend more time in the spotlight over the near term.

“If Russia pursues cyberattacks against our companies or critical infrastructure, we are prepared to respond,” said the president. “For months we’ve been working closely with the private sector to harden our cyber defenses and sharpen our ability to respond to Russian cyberattacks as well.”

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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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