On Tuesday, shares of Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) poked through the vaunted $1,000 price level before closing just below there. It appears to be just a matter of time before shares of Google parent Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) do the same thing. With these storied internet stocks surging and sporting price tags that are unapproachable to most investors, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) make for solid alternatives to high-priced stocks for capital-starved investors. A good starting point is the PowerShares QQQ (QQQ), the Nasdaq-100 Index tracking ETF.
As of May 26, Amazon was QQQ's third largest holding at a weight of just 7 percent, while both classes of Alphabet stock combined for almost 10 percent of the fund's weight. The Priceline Group Inc. (PCLN), a stock with a staggering price tag of just under $1,860 as of Tuesday's close, is 1.4 percent of QQQ's lineup. In other words, QQQ is a fine idea for investors looking for exposure to high-priced stocks. Based on sheer price, QQQ is not "cheap" at over $141 per share, but that is more feasible for many retail investors than the stratospheric heights at which Alphabet, Amazon and Priceline reside. (See also: Amazon's Shares Cross $1,000 Mark.)
"We saw some late week reversals in QQQ in terms of outflows turning into inflows, as the fund has reeled in over $1.3 billion via creations lately," said Paul Weisbruch of Street One Financial in a note out Tuesday. "It does not hurt that number three weighting Amazon is trading at a new all-time high today and has eclipsed $1,000 for the first time ever before regressing a bit and other top weighted members are all within shouting distance of their 52-week highs."
Over the past year, investors have added more than $5 billion in new assets to QQQ, more than the inflows accrued to any other PowerShares ETF, according to issuer data. During the past month, QQQ has seen inflows of $1.1 billion, also more than any other PowerShares ETF. QQQ holds 107 stocks with an average market capitalization of $275.5 billion. Since QQQ came to market in March 1999, the ETF has topped the Russell 3000 Index and the Nasdaq Composite, a broader measure of Nasdaq stocks, according to PowerShares data. (See also: QQQ: Powershares QQQ ETF.)
Apple Inc. (AAPL), the largest U.S. company by market value, and Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) are QQQ's two largest holdings, combining for 20.1 percent of the ETF's weight. (See also: Words of Caution on a Popular Nasdaq ETF.)