What is the ETF? Investors seek ASX ETFs with access to cybersecurity and COVID-19 vaccines
July was a modest month for ASX ETFs, but the hottest one focused on cybersecurity, another focused on COVID-19 vaccine makers not far behind.
Topping the charts was BetaShares Global Cyber Security ETF (ASX: HACK).
Unlike some of the other sectors covered by ASX ETFs, there is no shortage of ASX players in the space with companies such as Tesserent (ASX: TNT) and ArchTIS (ASX: AR9) increasingly hot as the demand for their products increases.
BetaShares’ ASX Cybersecurity ETF, however, tracks the world’s giants, including Cisco (NDQ: CSCO), Cloudflare (NYSE: NET), XScaler (NDQ: ZS) and Crowd strike (NDQ: CRWD).
Almost 90% of its holdings are in the United States.
Among the other top 10 ASX ETFs in July, there was a good mix of winners. Taking silver and bronze places were resource ETFs – SPDR Resources S & P / ASX 200 (ASX: OZR) and Betashares Australian Resources ETF (ASX: QRE).
Both are focused on resource companies in Australia, particularly large cap producers.
IShares Global Health ETF (ASX: IXJ) was another player of note during the month, which saw the Delta strain of COVID-19 become a growing concern, even among countries with a high proportion of their nations vaccinated.
This fund invests directly in its American equivalent, which in turn invests in many global healthcare giants. This includes, but is not limited to, manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines such as Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), Moderna (NDQ: MRNA), AstraZeneca (LON: AZN) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ).
On a year-over-year basis, ETFs have proven to be stronger than the performance of the top 10 in July would suggest. The average return on ASX ETFs in 2021 is just over 13% and the top 10 ETFs have all gained over 23%.
Almost all of the top ETF winners of 2021 focused on foreign stocks, especially the US market.
Although ASX made a healthy 12% gain this year, America did better. The S & P500 is up 18% while the Nasdaq and Dow Jones are up almost 16%.
Once again, the top performer was US Leveraged BetaShares Equity (ASX: GGUS). The fund invests in the top 500 stocks listed in the US by market capitalization and does so with a mix of debt and equity financing.
Two unique winners were investors in foreign property – Van Eck International Real Estate ETF (ASX: REIT) and SPDR Dow Jones Global Real Estate ETF (ASX: DJRE).
However, despite the promises in foreign stock markets, investors have started to be picky about where they divert their money.
At the start of this year, ETFs focused on China and the broader Asia-Pacific were booming. But it appears investors have been spooked by regulatory measures in China as well as fears of what could come next.
Betashares ETF AsiaTech Tigers (ASX: ASIA) gained 80% in the 12 months to January 31, 2021, but this year it has lost over 11%.
Van Eck ETF China A50 (ASX: CETF) is also lagging behind, having lost almost 8% this year.
But in a sign of investor confidence in the stock markets in general, the three worst performing are all ETFs designed to go down when the market takes ownership – BetaShares Bear Funds for Australia and the United States (ASX: BBOZ, ASX: BEAR and ASX: BBUS).