ETFs for Earnings Season - TheStreet

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- A more than 10% drop in the equity markets since April has presented a gift to investors who want to buy stocks ahead of earnings season. ETFs in the technology and energy sectors look set to perform well.

In my

ETF Action Newsletter

I have a hefty exposure to technology through the

PowerShares QQQ

(QQQQ)

and

First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index

(FDN) - Get Report

.

QQQQ has about 20% of its portfolio in

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

, with big name technology companies rounding out the top ten.

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

,

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

and

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

each have more than 4% of the fund's assets, but the weightings fall quickly and number 10 holding

Gilead Sciences

(GILD) - Get Report

has less than 2% of assets.

The huge weight in Apple makes the company the driving force in QQQQ and it's been a positive one over the past three months. Shares are up more than 16% in this period, compared to a loss of about 6% for the Qs.

Even though Apple has had a good run, the launch of the iPad and the iPhone 4 are likely to power earnings and generate a positive outlook from the company. Analysts did a better job of forecasting Apple's earnings in the previous quarter, coming in too low by only 36%, much better than the 70%-plus misses in the previous three quarters.

Earnings estimates for this quarter have already climbed more than 6% in the past month and they're likely to be too low, once again. Therefore, I expect Apple to continue to pull QQQQ higher.

A fund with potentially more upside, however, is FDN. This fund is down about 5%, similar to QQQQ over the past three months, but the performance of the top components was the opposite. Whereas Apple pulled QQQQ higher,

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

,

Amazon

(AMZN) - Get Report

,

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

,

Yahoo

(YHOO)

and

Juniper

(JNPR) - Get Report

have dragged on FDN's performance, with losses ranging from about 10% to more than 20%. Estimates for these five firms, which account for about 32% of the ETF, have held steady over the past few weeks.

At nearly 10% of assets, Google may be the most important of the group, and if the buzz over iPhone 4 is helping Apple, Google may be in for its own rally. The Android operating system is gaining wider acceptance from consumers and the newest phones are very competitive in terms of features.

Motorola

(MOT)

is rolling out new Android phones, while Samsung is launching phones for all five major U.S. wireless networks. In August, the next generation of the Android operating system will also be available.

Given that one-third of FDN has been pulling the fund lower and investors haven't been optimistic, I anticipate that this ETF will be able to outperform QQQQ during earnings season, although I expect both to do well.

As for energy, the global selloff in May hammered oil prices and energy stocks alike, while the

BP

(BP) - Get Report

disaster has kept a cloud of uncertainty over the industry as regulators consider new rules for drilling.

Oil prices have rebounded into the mid $70s per barrel though, and while there are worries about a weak economic recovery, demand for oil remains robust. Investors have been focused on negative news and a weak stock market, but analyst estimates for oil majors such as

Chevron

(CVX) - Get Report

and

ConocoPhillips

(COP) - Get Report

have been climbing.

In terms of ETFs, a solid play on the broad energy sector can be had with the

Energy Select Sector SPDR

(XLE) - Get Report

. The fund owns the oil majors, independent producers and service companies such as

Schlumberger

(SLB) - Get Report

and

Halliburton

(HAL) - Get Report

. Thanks to the hefty yield on some of the majors, the fund also delivers a solid 2% dividend yield.

For investors interested in a more aggressive energy ETF, the

SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF

(XES) - Get Report

is the way to go. Although the fund is broadly diversified, with individual holdings ranging from 4.4% to 3.7% of assets, it still has taken a beating over the BP disaster in the Gulf. Shares have underperformed XLE and are down more than 20% since the Deepwater Horizon accident, well ahead of the roughly 15% drop in XLE and the 10% decline in the

S&P 500

Index.

Last year, stocks were trading in early July at the same level they were at two months earlier in May. A positive earnings season was kicked off by

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

and the rest of the market's solid earnings generated a powerful rally. With fear high right now, investors may be pleasantly surprised by better earnings numbers next month, and it's the energy and technology sectors that may deliver some of the best results.

At the time of publication, Dion Money Management owned QQQQ and FDN.

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Don Dion is president and founder of

Dion Money Management

, a fee-based investment advisory firm to affluent individuals, families and nonprofit organizations, where he is responsible for setting investment policy, creating custom portfolios and overseeing the performance of client accounts. Founded in 1996 and based in Williamstown, Mass., Dion Money Management manages assets for clients in 49 states and 11 countries. Dion is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts and Maine and has more than 25 years' experience working in the financial markets, having founded and run two publicly traded companies before establishing Dion Money Management.

Dion also is publisher of the Fidelity Independent Adviser family of newsletters, which provides to a broad range of investors his commentary on the financial markets, with a specific emphasis on mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. With more than 100,000 subscribers in the U.S. and 29 other countries, Fidelity Independent Adviser publishes six monthly newsletters and three weekly newsletters. Its flagship publication, Fidelity Independent Adviser, has been published monthly for 11 years and reaches 40,000 subscribers.