The technology sector is up more than 12 percent year to date (YTD) as of March 28, 2017, outperforming the market so far this year. And if President Donald Trump carries through with some of his campaign promises (think repatriation of overseas cash, decreased corporate taxes), the tech sector stands to benefit greatly. (See also: Top 5 Technology Penny Stocks to Watch for 2017.)
Although there is always inherent volatility in technology, the sector has consistently performed well – the Nasdaq is up 94 percent over the past five years compared with 71 percent gains for the S&P 500. If you're looking for exposure to technology to diversify your portfolio, here are the top technology mutual fund picks for 2017. (See also: Top 4 ETFs to Track the Nasdaq.)
1. Fidelity Select IT Services Portfolio (FBSOX)
Assets under management: $1.65 billion
Expense ratio: 0.81 percent
YTD performance: 6.51 percent
FBSOX is one of the largest and oldest of the technology mutual funds. Over the life of the fund (inception date February 1998), it has delivered average annualized returns exceeding 12 percent. The fund's objective is capital appreciation, and it invests at least 80 percent of its assets in companies providing IT services. The mutual fund is relatively concentrated – although there are 67 equities in the fund's portfolio, the top 10 holdings account for 62 percent of the assets. About 95 percent of the equities are domestic, with the remainder in international emerging markets.
Cumulative five-year returns for FBSOX are 114 percent, and turnover is low at just 24 percent. FBSOX requires a $2,500 minimum investment and $25 minimum recurring investments. (See also: 3 Mutual Funds That Invest in U.S. Companies With Indian CEOs.)
2. Red Oak Technology Select Fund (ROGSX)
Issuer: Oak Associates Funds
Assets under management: $431.3 million
Expense ratio: 1.23 percent
YTD performance: 8.89 percent
ROGSX is a long-term growth fund that bases stock picks on fundamentals without regard to market cap. There are just 41 holdings in the fund's portfolio, with the top 10 equities accounting for just 38 percent of its assets. You'll see household names like Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) and Apple Inc. (AAPL) as well as lesser known equities like Red Hat, Inc. (RHT) powering the fund's solid returns. (See also: Post-Earnings Valuation: Red Hat Edition.)
Since its inception in 1998, the fund has delivered returns of nearly 5 percent, with one-, three- and five-year annualized returns at 38.38 percent, 14.88 percent and 17.24 percent, respectively. Five-year cumulative returns for ROGSX are 124.4 percent.
3. T. Rowe Price Global Technology Fund (PRGTX)
Issuer: T. Rowe Price
Assets under management: $4.0 billion
Expense ratio: 0.91 percent
YTD performance: 18.08 percent
This is an aggressive growth fund for investors seeking long-term capital growth. Turnover is brisk at 171 percent, as you'd expect from an aggressively managed fund. Since its inception in 2000, the fund has consistently outperformed the MCSI All Country World Index IT and the Lipper average for global technology funds.
One-, three- and five- average annual returns are 30.94 percent, 20.97 percent and 20.25 percent, respectively. There is a $2,000 minimum investment required ($1,000 for an IRA) and a charge of $100 to add to an account. (See also: Top Mutual Funds for Aggressive Investors.)
4. Columbia Seligman Global Technology Fund (SHGTX)
Issuer: Columbia Threadneedle Investments
Assets under management: $589 million
Expense ratio: 1.40 percent
YTD performance: 15.13 percent
SHGTX is another aggressive growth fund, and compared with the MCSI World Index IT Index Net, its portfolio is heavily concentrated in semiconductors (48.5 percent vs. 15 percent) and short on IT (5 percent vs. 17 percent). However, SHGTX has consistently outperformed the index by between 5 percent and 10 percent over the past three years. (See also: Semiconductor Names Tied at the Hip to Apple.)
One-, three- and five-year annualized returns are 33.07 percent, 21.55 percent and 16.49 percent, respectively, with a five-year cumulative return of 114.5 percent. The fund requires a $2,000 minimum investment.