This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Technology ETFs Are Not Just for Capital Appreciation Anymore

NEW YORK ( ETF Expert) -- In simpler investing times, an investor purchased Treasury bonds for their reliable income stream. Today, the only reason to buy iShares 7-10 Year Treasury (IEF) is for the potential that worldwide demand can push yields lower and prices higher.

Similarly, there once was a time when dividends in technology stocks were a mere afterthought. You bought Apple (AAPL) because it might go from $50 per share to $100; you accumulated shares of Microsoft (MSFT) because you believed that it would travel from $15 to $30.

However, the technology stock landscape is changing rapidly. Many large-cap tech mainstays that did not offer dividends for decades are now serving up 2%+ yields. In an environment where a 10-year note produces a meager 1.75%, this "freebie" is fast becoming a critical component for total return.

For those who are less inclined to pick individual standouts, First Trust NASDAQ Technology Dividend (TDIV) may combine the best of stable tech brands and impressive dividend growth. What's more, TDIV may have a compelling argument for equity income enthusiasts.

Traditional dividend funds and dividend ETFs typically rely on defensive economic sectors like utilities and consumer staples. Unfortunately, in an ultra-low rate environment, these segments may trade at an expensive premium; non-cyclicals can easily fall out of favor. It follows that equity income investors with traditional holdings should consider bolstering dividend-oriented tech in their portfolios to hedge against "yield myopia" and/or sharp sector rotations.

The idea has been catching on quickly. In roughly 4 1/2 months, TDIV has accumulated nearly $50 million in assets under management. And why not? Cash-rich behomoths from Microsoft to Intel (INTC) to Oracle (ORCL) to Cisco (CSCO) are undoubtedly capable of paying up.

First Trust NASDAQ Technology Dividend tracks an index that yields roughly 3%, though it carries an expense ratio of 0.5%. The probability of uneven distributions makes it difficult to gauge the exact payout across a 12-month span, though the 30-day SEC yield of 2.19% and the December payment suggest 2.25%-2.5% annually.

TDIV's relative strength is evident when one compares the new exchange-traded vehicle with the grand-daddy of tech ETFs, Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK). The current price on the TDIV:XLK price ratio is at the top of its range and it is well above a 50-day trendline.

Investors may wish to keep in mind that this outperformance is in large part due to TDIV's exclusion of Apple. The "i-everything" mega-cap first initiated dividends in 2012, meaning that it may not yet meet longevity requirements or dividend growth requirements for inclusion in the index that TDIV tracks. For the last three months of tax gain harvesting, then, ex-AAPL ETFs have succeeded.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Disclosure Statement: ETF Expert is a website that makes the world of ETFs easier to understand. Gary Gordon, Pacific Park Financial and/or its clients may hold positions in ETFs, mutual funds and investment assets mentioned. The commentary does not constitute individualized investment advice. The opinions offered are not personalized recommendations to buy, sell or hold securities. At times, issuers of exchange-traded products compensate Pacific Park Financial or its subsidiaries for advertising at the ETF Expert website. ETF Expert content is created independently of any advertising relationships. You may review additional ETF Expert at the site.

Gary Gordon reads:

Real Clear Markets
Jeff Miller
Charles Kirk
On Twitter, Gary Gordon follows:

Jonathan Hoenig
Doug Kass
Hard Assets Investor

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.74 0.00%
FB $117.58 0.00%
GOOG $693.01 0.00%
TSLA $240.76 0.00%
YHOO $36.60 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs