Investors Have Been Showering Cash on Chip ETF Amid Nasdaq Rout

(Bloomberg) -- The FAANG cratering has done nothing to stanch the appetite of exchange-traded-fund investors in other parts of the technology space.

They poured $175 million into the VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF on Monday, boosting the inflow since Thursday to $629 million. That’s the biggest three-day intake since April, data compiled by Bloomberg show. In contrast, eight days of withdrawals from the Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 ETF have drained $3.2 billion from the fund.

It’s more evidence investor angst is confined to the highest-flying tech segment and not the industry at large. Strong chipmaker earnings from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. to Xilinx Inc. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. are helping the sector withstand a rout in a broader tech index, which posted the biggest three-day drop since March after Facebook Inc.’s user growth miss.

Declines in the FAANGs sent ripples to chipmakers, pushing the group lower on Friday and Monday. But the move was nowhere close to a slump in tech megacaps since Facebook’s miss.

“If they can hold up, it will lower the odds considerably that the other big-cap momentum names will see another leg lower,” said Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co.
“Of course, all bets will be off if Apple gives us a lousy earnings report tonight (they’re a huge buyer of chips), but right now, the action in the semis is definitely positive.”

Investors Have Been Showering Cash on Chip ETF Amid Nasdaq Rout

Apple Inc.’s earnings report, due after the market close on Tuesday, will either send chipmakers higher or push the group lower together with a broader gauge of tech stocks. Apple is the main customer of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the largest holding in the VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF. Half of the stocks in the the iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF rely on Apple for a portion of their revenue. The fund took in $129 million on Monday, widening its two-day inflow to $203 million.

Apple’s earnings could provide a much-needed lift to broader tech ETFs such as the QQQ and the XLK, as the Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF is also known. Apple makes up 14 percent of the fund, its largest holding, and about 30 percent of the portfolio is in Facebook, Microsoft Google, which may also move on Apple’s report. Apple makes up 11 percent of the QQQ.

The past couple of days have been rough for the largest exchange-traded fund tracking the Nasdaq 100 Index. Investors pulled $1.3 billion from the fund on Monday in biggest withdrawal since April and the largest outflow among more than 2,000 American ETFs. The fund’s eight-session streak of outflows is its longest since March.

Investors Have Been Showering Cash on Chip ETF Amid Nasdaq Rout

The fund is still up 13 percent this year after a 31 percent run in 2017. Zoom out a little further, and the fund’s run is not that impressive. Since the U.S. market bottomed out from a correction in early 2016, the ETF is up 83 percent, compared with a 146 percent run in the iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF.

“Even though the FAANG complex has been on fire and growing in influence, there are still been plenty of secondary and tertiary Technology names that have not broken down,” said Frank Cappelleri, senior equity trader at Instinet LLC. “In order for the Growth trade to persist, the Semis must maintain their buoyancy.”

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