Investing Basics

More than just technology

Close up of a dandelion's many seeds highlighting the diversification that you get with an ETF like Invesco QQQ.

When you think of the Nasdaq-100 and the Invesco QQQ ETF, the first thing that comes to mind is probably technology. It’s not surprising, as some of the world’s most recognizable tech companies including Apple, Microsoft and Nvidia (along with many others) make up nearly half of the index’s holdings.

But when you look beyond those bellwether names, you quickly come to realize that there’s more sector diversification than you may have first imagined—a fact that becomes clear when you look at the breakdown of the Nasdaq-100 components by sector. Allocations as of December 31, 2021 were:

Information Technology 50.97%
Communication Services 18.38%
Consumer Discretionary 16.13%
Health Care 5.66%
Consumer Staples 5.14%
Industrials & Utilities 3.65%

Why is this kind of diversification so important? Because whether it’s in your own personal portfolio or one of the nation’s largest ETFs, diversification helps mitigate risk.. And as the chart below clearly demonstrates, no one single sector (not even information technology) consistently outperformed year after year.

Take Utilities as a perfect case in point. While Utilities outperformed all other sectors in 2011, it subsequently went on to be a laggard in 2012 and 2013, only to rise to the top again in 2014 and then proceeded to bounce around in the middle of the pack.

A decade of U.S. equity sector returns (2011 through 2020)
Chart showing revenue returns from 2011 to 2020

Source: Morningstar Direct. Past performance does not guarantee future returns. Return percentages represent total annual returns (reinvestment of all distributions) and do not include fees and expenses.

When most investors focus on diversification, however, they typically focus on asset classes—wanting to allocate their portfolio broadly across large, mid and small cap stocks, foreign and emerging markets, corporate and government bonds, and cash. It’s an important diversification strategy, but it may overlook sector diversification.

Modern portfolio theory holds that a portfolio full of assets that are closely correlated will perform worse over time; whereas a portfolio full of assets that are less correlated to each other will perform better over time. Of course if there’s a major market downturn, generally all assets are going to lose value (such as during last year’s COVID correction in March, when most stocks fell―with a few notable exceptions, such as Amazon and Walmart). 

Why do sectors rotate in and out of favor?

While no two market cycles are identical, as the economy moves through different phases—from recovery to expansion to slowdown to recession—different sectors tend to outperform. During the economic growth stages (recovery and expansion), Information Technology, Consumer Discretionary, Industrials and Financials often take center stage. Then, as growth slows and stalls out (slowdown and recession), Consumer Staples, Healthcare and Utilities tend to shine.

Additionally, certain demographic and long-term secular trends can cause particular sectors to move in or out of favor―for example, emerging challenges such as climate change bringing about a broad migration towards green energy.  

One stop; multiple sectors

Not only is it important to diversify your investments across asset classes, but also within each asset class. Thanks to strong representation of secondary sectors such as Communication Services, Consumer Discretionary and Healthcare, the Invesco QQQ ETF can offer some diversification in one fund. It’s not a guarantee for profit, and it doesn’t eliminate the risk of loss, but diversification is a potential way to help drive your portfolio’s performance.

And speaking of that, QQQ has grown to become the #1 rated, best-performing large cap growth fund (1 of 317), based on total return over the past 15 years by Lipper, as of December 31, 2021.

Lipper fund percentile rankings are based on total returns, excluding sales charges and including fees and expenses, and are versus mutual funds, ETFs and funds of funds in the category tracked by Lipper. The Lipper one-year rank 19% (128 of 675), five-year rank 2% (9 of 559), 10-year rank 1% (1 of 435), 15-year rank 1% (1 of 317) as of December 31, 2021.

How to invest in QQQ

Select the option that best describes you, or view the QQQ Product Details to take a deeper dive.

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