ETFs allow investors take advantage of owning a stock and getting exposure to its upside, without actually owning the stock in isolation and the volatility that comes with it.
Alphabet (GOOG) - Get Report (GOOGL) - Get Report will hold an event next month where it's expected to announce its latest smartphones and other hardware, as the search giant continues to diversify away from advertising. Shares have performed well over the past year, gaining nearly 25%, but their high dollar-cost has left retail investors searching for exposure without breaking the bank.
The phone, as well as other potential announcements -- like an updated Chromecast media streaming device or Google Home, the company's Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report Echo competitor -- are likely to draw the majority of media attention. Despite the good will and brand cachet from these devices, the company is still largely dependent on its advertising business, one that's attractive to FBB Capital Partners director of research, Mike Bailey.
"It has a reasonable price and improving fundamentals," Bailey said over the phone. "It has improving fundamental, sales growth is accelerating, margins are improving and we're still in the early innings of returning capital to shareholders."
The share price for both the Class A and Class C shares have sat around $800 for some time, and that's not an issue for FBB Capital Partners, which has $900 million in assets under management. Despite what some consider a reasonable price, trading at 20 times forward earnings, the share price for the average retail investor who does not have $900 million is expensive.
Mountain View, Calif.-Alphabet,
which transitioned into a holding company in 2015, generates nearly 90% of its revenues from its Google division, mostly via advertising from its search engine, as well as YouTube and its Android operating system, both of which live under the Google umbrella. The press invitation, sent out September 19, included the phrase "Ok Google, add to calendar," as well as an animated graphic showing a search bar changing into a smartphone.
These three ETFs provide significant amounts of exposure to Apple and its future but provide investors with more diversification and access to other tech companies.
Calamos Focus Growth ETF
The Calamos Focus Growth ETF (CFGE) provides significant exposure to Alphabet, its Google business as well as its Other Bets, which include areas of interest like cars, Google Fiber and Verily, its life sciences division.
"The Google car is interesting," said Bailey, while adding he did not expect any of these areas to "move the needle" or generate significant revenue in the interim. "Some of these [other bets] are interesting and growing from a small base, but I don't think investors are expecting much just yet."
This particular ETF, which is issued by Calamos Investments, has 6.82% of its portfolio weighted toward Alphabet, the highest among ETFs tracked by ETF Database. The expense ratio is higher compared to some other Alphabet-heavy ETFS, at 0.90%.
It gives you slightly more exposure to Alphabet's search business, as well as its burgeoning cloud business, one which R.W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian is positive on, following
Google's acquisition of
Apigee (APIC) in early September.
John Hancock Multifactor Technology ETF Technology Equities
Alphabet makes up of 5.02% of the John Hancock Multifactor Technology ETF (JHMT) - Get Report portfolio, lower than the Calamos Focus Growth ETF, but it also offers a significantly lower expense ratio, at just 0.50%.
Even though the phone and the other hardware products are not likely to generate significant revenue, Android is an important part of Google's search ecosystem; what's more, it's likely to help build brand cachet.
"I think it's basically a call option," Bailey noted, saying investors are not counting on much right away from the yet-to-be announced devices. "If these devices work, it'll help upside, but we're not anticipating any meaningful near-term revenue growth from these businesses."
PowerShares NASDAQ Internet Portfolio ETF
PowerShares NASDAQ Internet Portfolio ETF (PNQI) - Get Report is slightly different from the other two listed in that it owns the Class C shares with the GOOG ticker, which have different voting rights than the Class A GOOGL shares.
Despite that slight difference, Alphabet makes up 7.85% of the fund, one which has an expense ratio of 0.60%.
"Google already manages one of the largest networks of applications in the world (i.e. Chrome, Maps, YouTube, Gmail), and adding Apigee's technology to its Cloud Platform provides Google with a more compelling value proposition to prospective customers," Sebastian wrote in a note to clients. "As more companies look to move IT to the cloud given the cost/operational advantages, we believe a robust API management platform can be a differentiating feature for Google's Cloud offering, particularly given the secular trends in mobile apps."