The FANG stock group--Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX), and Google (GOOGL, standing for Alphabet, Google's parent company)--are some of the hottest tech companies in the world today. They are so perennially popular that other companies have repeatedly attempted to make inroads into the selective "FANG" group (you'll see FAANG as an acronym representing the above-mentioned companies as well as Alibaba, for instance). While the grouping of these four companies into "FANG" is somewhat arbitrary and a designation made by investors as a time-saving tool, there are new and practical implications for the FANG grouping as of late in November. Late last month, Intercontinental Exchange launched futures which track these four companies, allowing for investors to easily trade in those areas without buying into the costly shares of each company directly.

NYSE FANG+ Index Futures

The new offering, called NYSE FANG+ Index Futures, includes not only the four FANG stocks as well as several others. Together, the group of 10 stocks aims to "represent the top innovators across today's tech and internet/media companies," according to a release from the Exchange which was reported on by Business Insider.

One unique feature of the grouping is that, unlike major indexes and ETFs which typically track them, the FANG+ grouping will be equal-weighted. This means that the largest stocks among the group won't hold proportional (and outsized) influence over the others.

FANG Continues to Ascend

FANG stocks have surged by more than 40% so far this year, a figure which roughly triples the growth of the S&P 500. They provide investors with an opportunity to be involved in the most popular tech companies in the world. FANG+ futures, on the other hand, can be used by investors looking to make bullish bets in that area. On the other hand, if the futures are shorted or sold, they can also be put to use as a hedge against losses in those 10 companies, or they can represent a more broad bearish position relative to the group. Business Insider argues that "FANG+ futures could even be used as a hedge against declines in the broader stock market...going off the idea that as mega-cap tech goes, so does the market, FANG+ could serve as a useful market proxy."

An advantage of the FANG+ futures product over its closest competitor, the First Trump Dow Jones Internet Index Fund, is that FANG+ does not receive about a third of its weighting from the original FANG stocks, as the Dow Jones fund does. So long as the FANG companies continue to dominate as they have this year, it's likely that investors will continue to make bets using both of these investment vehicles.

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