The Internet, though inherently tech-based, sprawls into practically every corner of the economy. By basing your investments on the internet theme you’re investing not just in the strengths of a specific company, but also in the way technologies are transforming the behaviour of consumers and the world we live in today.
The Power of Thematic Investing
Even if you’d wanted to, you just can’t escape from the FANG stocks over the last year. The Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google quartet achieved a combined market cap exceeding US$2 trillion1 and account for over 6% of the US market’s entire value2. Recent gyrations in their share prices continue to make headlines.
With these businesses soaring on the back of technology advancement and big data, investors tend to view their growth as a just a tech-sector story. However, in investment terms, half the FANGs don’t qualify as tech at all; Amazon and Netflix are consumer stocks. Similarly, tech-driven businesses such as Veeva have been seeing record growth in Q2 20183 (with net income increasing by 192% Y-O-Y), but is classified as health care.
Investors therefore face an ongoing conundrum: now that almost every company uses technology to drive its business today, how do you invest in tech?
Thematic investing can help. The Internet, though inherently tech-based, sprawls into practically every corner of the economy. By basing your investments on the internet theme
you’re investing not just in the strengths of a specific company, but also in the way technologies are transforming the behaviour of consumers and the world we live in today.
Designed with this purpose in mind, the Dow Jones Internet Composite Index SM
(The “Index”) measures the performance of the 40 largest and most actively traded stocks of US companies that generate at least 50% of their cashflows from internet-related business. As a result, it has captured better growth than both the S&P500 and the tech-geared S&P 1500 Technology over the last decade.
Just as generating alpha is becoming tougher than ever, these strong fundamentals have resulted in positive excess returns of the index over the last decade.
Notably the FANG stocks have still been growing their earnings and user bases. For Amazon, not only is the company still accelerating both its revenue growth and gross margins – driven mostly by its retail business – but its cloud business still accounts for just 10% of its revenue4 and is growing faster than Amazon as a whole.
Despite Facebooks’ recent tumultuous share price drop, looking at trailing P/E measures, the stock is now historically cheap. Second quarter 2018 results underwhelmed analyst’s estimates, with an all-time low P/E of 27.265. Despite some of the concerns which sent the stock down almost 20% in one day6, and the recent company news that they expect lower growth in the second half of 2018, some of the growth figures reported were in fact quite impressive. For example, Revenues (of which mobile ad revenues make up about 91% of the company’s total revenue) and Net Income rose by 42% and 31% Y-O-Y respectively.7
While the recent performance of these two companies is a perfect reminder of the importance of diversification, there is little to suggest that the power of internet to disrupt existing business models is running out of steam.
First Trust – A Thematic Past & Present
In response to this opportunity, First Trust has launched a UCITS ETF tracking the Dow Jones Internet Composite Index SM. Managing over 126 billion dollars in assets in June 2018, First Trust is the 6th largest ETF sponsor in the US.8
First Trust has many years’ experience in thematic investing solutions and today is one of the large players in thematic ETFs. Since the firm’s launch, First Trust has successfully launched a series of thematic products, which have including cyber security, blockchain and the internet.
The Internet Evolution Continues
Legendary portfolio manager Peter Lynch famously advised “Invest in What You Know.” In this spirit, consider how often you use Google search, watch a YouTube video, and check your Gmail.
Or think about how often we turn directly to Amazon to look up or order a product. Also, bear in mind that three of the top four most popular social networks – where we spend a growing portion of our days (as per the adjacent chart)9 – are owned by Facebook.
The Internet Index captures the underlying themes that have the potential to shape tomorrow’s purchasing decisions, including the Subscription Economy theme (with holdings such as Dropbox and Spotify), and the Cloud Computing theme (with holdings such as Akamai Technologies and Juniper Networks).
By adding the Internet Index UCITS ETF - which is heavily allocated towards rapidly-growing firms – investors can also potentially gain heightened exposure to the much larger universe of up and coming challengers.
Some fund managers and fund selectors are only just beginning to tap into the value that thematic investing can add to an active portfolio. Please Click Here to watch the previously hosted webinar, presented by First Trust senior product specialist Gregg Guerin, and listen to further insights on the potential opportunities of the Internet growth.
This material is not comprehensive and must therefore be read in conjunction with a Fund’s prospectus, which contains material information not contained herein, including the terms of investment and information regarding investment risks and restrictions, fees and expenses and conflicts of interests. Potential investors should pay particular attention to the “Risk Factors” section of the Fund’s prospectus. Contact First Trust or visit www.ftglobalportfolios.com to obtain a prospectus and/or Key Investor Information Document.
The Dow Jones Internet Composite IndexSM is a product of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC ("SPDJI"), and has been licensed for use by First Trust. Dow Jones® and Dow Jones Internet Composite IndexSM are trademarks of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC ("Dow Jones") and have been licensed to SPDJI and have been sublicensed for use for certain purposes by First Trust on behalf of the Fund. The First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index Fund is not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by SPDJI, Dow Jones or their respective affiliates and none of them makes any representation regarding the advisability of investing in such product.
Equity Style Factor Sales Growth – A measure of how the stock’s sales per share (SPS) has grown over the last five years.
Equity Style Factor Cash Flow Growth – A measure of how the stock’s cash flow per share (CFPS) has grown over the last three to five years.
8.First Trust Bloomberg.
This presentation is confidential and is intended solely for the use of the person or persons to whom it is given or sent and may not be reproduced, copied or given, in whole or in part, to any other person.
This document is issued by FTGP of 8 Angel Court, London, EC2R7HJ. FTGP is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) (register no. 583261). The Fund is not regulated by the FCA.
Nothing contained herein constitutes investment, legal, tax or other advice and it is not to be solely relied on in making an investment or other decision, nor does the document implicitly or explicitly recommend or suggest an investment strategy, reach conclusions in relation to an investment strategy for the reader, or provide any opinions as to the present or future value or price of any fund. It is not an invitation, offer, or solicitation to engage in any investment activity, including making an investment in the Fund, nor does the information, recommendations or opinions expressed herein constitute an offer for sale of the Fund.
The Fund is an open-ended sub-fund of the First Trust Global Funds PLC (the “Company”), an umbrella UCITS fund with segregated liability between sub-funds, incorporated with limited liability as an investment company with variable capital under the laws of Ireland with UCITS registered number 514357.
The material in this document is not comprehensive and must therefore be read in conjunction with the Fund’s prospectus, which contains material information not contained herein, including the terms of investment and information regarding investment risks and restrictions, fees and expenses and conflicts of interests. Potential investors should pay particular attention to the risk disclosures in the “Risk Factors” section of the Fund’s prospectus. No assurance can be given that the Fund’s investment objective will be achieved or that the Fund will generate a positive return. Contact FTGP or visit www.ftglobalportfolios.com to obtain a Prospectus and/or Key Investor Information Document (available in English).
Shares of the Fund are not available for sale in any state or jurisdiction in which such sale would be prohibited. The shares of the Funds have not been registered under the US Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the Fund is not registered under the US Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended. Neither this material nor the Fund’s shares are available to or suitable for US persons.
UCITS ETF’s units/shares purchased on the secondary market cannot usually be sold directly back to UCITS ETF. Investors must buy and sell units / shares on a secondary market with the assistance of an intermediary (e.g. a stockbroker) and may receive less than the current net asset value when selling them.
Portfolio Holdings Disclosure Policy:
The Company’s portfolio holdings policy is designed to be transparent, whilst being in the best interest of the Funds and protecting the confidentiality of each Fund’s portfolio holdings. The full portfolio holdings for the Fund shall generally be available daily, with a one-day lag, on www.ftglobalportfolios.com. Any portfolio holdings information which may otherwise be provided on request shall be provided on a confidential basis.
Earnings Growth – The average of the available third‐party analysts’ estimates for three‐ to five‐year earnings per share (EPS) growth.
Equity Style Factor Historical Earnings Growth – A measure of how the stock’s EPS has grown over the last five years.
Equity Style Factor Book Value Growth – A measure of how the stock’s book value per share (BVPS) has grown over the last five years.