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An ETF Tracking the Hot IPO Market


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Over the weekend Barron's had a feature on what has been a hot initial public offering market. It noted the success of new companies including Noodles & Company (NDLS) and Tableau Software (DATA).

The First Trust US IPO Index Fund (FPX) has been trading for seven years, has accumulated $100 million in assets and offers investors a way to benefit from the boom without taking on single stock risk that can come with failed IPOs such as inflight Internet service provider Gogo (GOGO), down 29% in just six weeks of trading.

The methodology behind FPX is easy to understand. It owns the largest 100 IPOs trading in the after-market. A stock is eligible for inclusion on day seven of its trading history through its 1,000th trading day. This means that Facebook (FB), which is the largest holding in the fund at 10%, can remain in the fund for several more years.

The current sector make up favors consumer discretionary at 26% of the fund followed by tech at 18%, energy 17% and health care at 16%. In FPX' lifetime the sector allocation has changed significantly. When the fund first began trading, the financial sector made up 32% of the fund due to large weightings in Genworth Financial (GNW), Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and NYSE Euronext (NYX). FPX has just 7.25% in financials now.

As mentioned, Facebook is the largest holding at 10%. The fund is market cap-weighted but modified to limit any stock to 10% of the fund. Drug company AbbVie (ABBV), which was a spinoff from Abbot Laboratories (ABT) last December, is the second largest holding at 9% followed by General Motors (GM) at 7%.

Year to date, FPX is up 28% versus 20% for the S&P 500 and for the trailing 12 months FPX' outperformance increases as it was up 44% versus 20% for the S&P. Prospective investors in FPX should also look at the period from May 31, 2012, to Aug. 31, 2012. This was significant because it was the first 90 days that Facebook could be included in the fund. Facebook had notoriously poor performance dropping 52% in its first three months of trading.

Despite the poor performance from such a large holding FPX only lagged the S&P 500 slightly, going up by 5% during those three months versus a gain of 6.9% for the benchmark. That speaks well for the methodology of the fund.

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