These days, the NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX) is grabbing plenty of headlines and that adulation is well-deserved.
Fueled by strength in technology stocks, the cap-weighted version of the NASDAQ-100 is higher by 6.71% year-to-date while the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average continue laboring in negative territory.
The resurgence of the NASDAQ-100 off its March lows is undoubtedly impressive and with stocks such as Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) accounting for significant portions of the broader market's returns this year, investors may not want to shift away from the cap-weighted NDX.
That said, the Direxion NASDAQ-100 Equal Weighted Index Shares (NYSE: QQQE) merits consideration. QQQE, tracks the NASDAQ 100 Equal Weighted Index (NETR), the equal-weight counterpart to NDX.
Why It's Important
As an equal-weight ETF, QQQE tilts away from the NASDAQ-100 large- and mega-cap components, putting greater emphasis on smaller stocks. That's something to consider at a time when small-cap equities are finally showing some leadership against their larger peers.
Due to the fact that it took small caps some time to recover off the March lows, QQQE is still sporting a modest year-to-date loss, but the Direxion fund is just 9% below its 52-week high and is higher by 10% over the past month, confirming it has some momentum on its side.
Data also confirm that due to their tech-heavy, socially responsible leanings, NASDAQ-100 investments are favored by millennial investors.
“These factors have brought millennial investors and the Nasdaq-100 in unison,” said Nasdaq Global Indexes in a recent note. “Gen Y's appetite for tech stocks and desire for ESG-friendly holdings has led them to increasingly invest in Nasdaq-100 components, and away from traditional companies and sectors represented in the S&P 500.”
While QQQE may skimp on technology and communication services relative to the cap-weighted NDX, that doesn't mean the Direxion ETF isn't levered to upside in those two sector. In fact, those groups combine for over 53% of the fund's weight, according to issuer data.
QQQE has another card up its sleeve: it's healthcare weight of 15.53% is double that of NDX. When it comes to the NASDAQ-100 and healthcare, that usually means biotech stocks and that's a plus for QQQE at a time when that group is soaring.