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“The triple Q’s” is the world’s 5th largest ETF – and for a good reason. However, what is QQQ? Is it a stock or an exchange-traded fund (ETF)?
This article will discuss why many investors turn to QQQ instead of the S&P 500 and help you decide if it’s worth your time and money.
What is QQQ?
QQQ is an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that passively tracks the Nasdaq-100 Index, which includes the 100 largest non-financial companies listed on the Nasdaq based on market cap.
The ETF allocates almost half of its holdings to the technology sector (62%), with Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Tesla, Facebook, and Google accounting for 44% of the fund.
This large allocation to high-growth technology stocks, or FAAMG, is why many investors with a higher risk tolerance choose QQQ over the S&P 500.
Understanding Invesco QQQ ETF
Invesco is the ETF provider that created QQQ to track the Nasdaq-100 Index. Remember, an index just measures a subset of the stock market and is not an investment vehicle – an ETF may or may not track a specific index, but it is an investment vehicle that can be bought and sold on an exchange.
So why is the Invesco QQQ ETF so popular?
Well, the Nasdaq is one of the three most-followed stock market indices, along with the S&P 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Wall Street turns to these three indices to gauge the general health of the stock market.
Over the last decade, the Nasdaq has been the best performer of the indices due to its strong allocation to Big Tech – a trend that will likely continue for some time.
Learn More: What Is an Index Fund?
Invesco QQQ ETF Sector Breakdown
While the Invesco QQQ ETF favors the technology sector, its sector breakdown includes seven different industries. Let’s look at the list of sectors and their respective allocations:
- Information Technology (62.31%)
- Consumer Cyclicals (23.04%)
- Health Care (6.24%)
- Consumer Non-Cyclicals (3.81%)
- Industrials (2.25%)
- Telecommunications (1.38%)
- Utilities (0.97%)
Invesco QQQ ETF Top 10 Holdings
While the number and weight of holdings are subject to change, the Invesco QQQ ETF currently has 102 holdings. Here are QQQ’s top holdings:
- Alphabet ‘C’
- Facebook ‘A’
- Alphabet ‘A’
Invesco QQQ ETF top 10 holdings account for 51.73% of the entire fund.
QQQ Pros and Cons
QQQ can be a great addition to your portfolio if it satisfies your unique risk-to-reward threshold.
Note that investors can have vastly different goals, and what you consider trash may be another person’s treasure
Let’s list some of the Invesco QQQ ETF’s pros and cons to help you decide.
Pros of QQQ
- Concentrated Diversification: While QQQ consists mostly of tech, approximately 100 companies in the fund span across seven industries.
- High-growth: Exposure to high-growth FAAMG companies.
- Zombie-Proof: Not held back by zombie industries being disrupted by innovation (linear TV, brick and mortar retail, etc.).
- Low Cost: The expense ratio is .20, meaning that for every $1,000 invested, you pay Invesco $2 for their service (this is why we like ETFs more than mutual funds).
- High Liquidity: Frequent trading is relatively cheap (consider other options if you’re day trading, though, like its 3x leveraged cousin that was designed for day-trading, TQQQ).
Cons of QQQ
- Diversification: QQQ gets beaten up worse than the other indices when tech stumbles. If its tactical allocation to one sector keeps you up at night, consider a fund with even more diversification, like the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO).
- Volatility: Your portfolio will go up and down more frequently (compared to VOO) if you own QQQ due to the high-growth nature of the companies in the Nasdaq.
Is QQQ a Bubble?
Wall Street is in trouble if QQQ is a bubble – the FAAMG names that constitute 44% of QQQ are also major parts of other popular funds, like the S&P 500, albeit to a lesser degree.
However, many believe that tech companies are overvalued and due for a cooling-off period. While this may be true for corporations in the FinTech or Cybersecurity space, we don’t believe that the leaders of QQQ are a bubble, at least not in the sense of the Dotcom Bubble.
Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google are high quality, trillion-dollar companies that are still growing.
These are not your traditional companies of the past – they do not operate in the conventional market silos previously defined.
This means they will enter uncharted territory at times and fail publicly, possibly impacting their stock price. But they won’t stop – if they fail, they’ll find the people or resources to help them succeed.
They are the standard that every ambitious tech company is trying to meet.
That doesn’t mean FAAMG is impervious to downturns, but it wouldn’t be their first, and their company’s DNA is why it won’t be their last.
Learn More: How to Research Stocks
Alternatives to QQQ ETF
- TQQQ: The ProShares UltraPro QQQ is a leveraged ETF that seeks a return of 3x QQQ for a single day. This means if QQQ is up 2% on the day, then TQQQ is up 6% on the day. Note that this fund is very risky and is not a long-term investment.
- SQQQ: The ProShares UltraPro Short QQQ is a leveraged ETF that captures a -3x return of QQQ for a single trading day, hence it’s the opposite of TQQQ. If you’re confident that Nasdaq companies are in for a rough day on Wall Street, consider buying SQQQ. Again, this vehicle is for short-term strategies only.
- VGT: The Vanguard Information Technology Index Fund ETF is a technology pure-play compared to QQQ’s tech bias. Note that VGT has a lower expense ratio (.10 vs .20) but does not include the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Google, or Tesla in its fund.
- VOO: The aforementioned Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF is the crown jewel of benchmark funds. It tracks the performance of more than 500 companies across all 11 sectors, therefore providing more diversification than QQQ. Investing in VOO is to “own the market,” a strategy that has returned 8-11% annually, on average, for decades.
- ARKK: Cathie Wood’s ARK Innovation ETF is the world’s largest active ETF, which invests in disruptive companies driving or benefiting from innovation in various sectors, from technology to financials, to healthcare. ARKK has returned 152% in the last year compared to 40% from QQQ and 15% from VOO.
How to Invest in QQQ ETF
We recommend using Vanguard or Charles Schwab to invest in QQQ because they offer various account types and have been trusted for decades. They are passive-investing royalty and offer a host of low-cost ETFs similar to QQQ.
In terms of researching QQQ and the companies it invests in, we recommend going with Motley Fool.
Unlike other stock advisors, the Motley Fool has conviction in their stock picks and are not afraid to put their reputation on the line.
Learn More: Motley Fool Review
QQQ ETF FAQs
What does QQQ mean?
QQQ is the ticker symbol for the ETF that passively tracks the Nasdaq-100 Index, consisting of the 100 largest and most actively traded non-financial stocks on the Nasdaq.
What does QQQ stand for in the stock market?
QQQ is the ticker symbol for the Invesco QQQ Trust, an exchange-traded fund based on the Nasdaq-100 Index.
The Index includes 100 of the largest domestic and international non-financial companies listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market based on market cap.
What are the fees for QQQ?
The expense ratio for QQQ is 0.20%, which is pricier than most S&P funds (VOO is 0.10%), but on the low end compared to mutual funds or thematic ETFs.
What is QQQ dividend?
Invesco QQQ ETF granted a 0.64% dividend yield in 2020, compared to 1.81% from VOO.
Bottom Line: Invesco QQQ ETF
Investors confident in tech’s continued dominance should consider QQQ over the traditional S&P 500.
The fund provides concentrated exposure to the world’s most innovative companies while maintaining some level of diversification.
The companies that lead QQQ each have a recipe of innovation that can be applied to any business endeavor, and while it’s unlikely each of them will remain at the top forever, we aren’t seeing an end to their dominance any time soon.
More Investing Resources:
Sean Graytok owns shares of QQQ.