PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ) rose 0.6%. SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) advanced 0.4%, and SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) added 0.5% in the stock market today. Emerging markets and small caps underperformed.
QQQ notched a fifth straight up session. Big-cap techs on the move included Amazon and Alphabet, which also extended their win streaks to five days. Amazon gained 0.4% and Alphabet 1.3%. Apple rose 1.1%, ending two sessions of losses. The iPhone maker’s shares remain between its 50-day moving average and the 180 level, where it’s been stuck the past three weeks.
Utilities, consumer staples and health care led the upside among sector funds. Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) advanced 0.6% as it heads back up near its 50-day moving average. Top-five components Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Pfizer (PFE) were among the Dow’s top gainers. Express Scripts (ESRX) popped 8% on news that health insurer Cigna (CI) will acquire the pharmacy benefit manager for $67 billion.
Metals miners, banks and retail lagged. SPDR S&P Metals & Mining (XME) fell 2% as it continues to test support at its 50-day line.
Like Big Caps?
Apple, Amazon and Facebook (FB) are the top three names held by a big-cap growth fund that’s setting up a possible buy opportunity.
Like similar ETFs featured recently, Schwab U.S. Large-Cap Growth (SCHG) remains above its 50-day moving average after retaking the line on Monday. This puts the fund in a potential buy zone — though it’s important to note that all purchases are at higher-than-normal risk with the market uptrend under pressure.
The ETF also is forming a base with a potential 76.93 buy point.
Shares advanced 17% from a late September bounce off the line to their Jan. 26 high. They then fell as much as 11% during the February correction, before recovering some of the losses to consolidate near the 50-day line.
The $5.6 billion fund, which tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Large-Cap Growth Total Stock Market Index, marked its eighth anniversary in December. It offers market-cap-weighted exposure to big-cap equities that exhibit growth traits.
Information technology represented nearly a third of total assets as of Tuesday, at 33%. Consumer discretionary was next at 20%, health care 16%, industrials 11% and financials 9%. Real estate, consumer staples, energy, materials and telecommunication services each made up less than 4%.
Top 10 holdings, which accounted for 28% of the 406-stock portfolio, included Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) and Alphabet. Amazon leads with a 32% year-to-date gain through Wednesday. Boeing (BA), another top 10 name, is next with an 18% return. Apple has been trading between its 50-day line (around 171) and 180 the past few weeks, and is 3% off its Feb. 28 intraday peak.
The ETF’s year to date gain of 5% as of Tuesday is ahead of the S&P 500’s 2.4% return, according to Morningstar Direct. Average annual returns of 12.5% and 16.5% over the past three and five years, respectively, also lead the S&P index’s 11.9% and 14.5% gains for those periods. SCHG carries a 0.04% expense ratio.
Wednesday’s pick, Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI), is holding support at its 50-day moving average.
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