Do you want to invest in biotech or blockchain, but you're worried you'll choose the wrong stocks? A good alternative is to consider buying exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that will do the job for you and allow you to diversify into multiple different holdings without needing to pick any stocks.
Two funds that aim to focus on these sectors are the Alps Medical Breakthroughs ETF (SBIO -0.71%) and the Amplify Transformational Digital Sharing ETF (BLOK 1.84%). Buying and holding these ETFs can be a solid way to benefit from the growth of the two sectors while keeping your overall risk low.
1. Alps Medical Breakthrough
The Alps Medical Breakthrough ETF focuses on small and mid-cap healthcare companies that are in the biotech sector. With a target market cap of between $200 million and $5 billion, these are the types of stocks that have the potential to take off and earn great returns for investors.
But what's even more attractive about the fund is that it isn't holding ultra-risky stocks. Its criteria include biotech companies with at least one potential drug in phase 2 trials or later. And the business needs to have sufficient cash to sustain its operations for 24 months. Right off the bat, that will eliminate many risky stocks that could need frequent cash raises to stay in business.
The fund's top holding, Ionis Pharmaceuticals (IONS -1.85%) accounts for 3.5% of the total ETF's weight. The company has not just one but more than two-dozen trials ongoing that are in phase 2 or later. Its focus is on RNA-targeted drugs that serve multiple therapeutic areas.
Ionis has a market cap is $4.6 billion, and over the trailing 12 months it has reported $661 million in revenue. Although the company is unprofitable, its financial position looks strong as the business has cash and short-term investments totaling just under $2 billion as of Sept. 30. That's more than enough to cover the $75 million in cash it has burned through over the past four quarters from its operating activities.
Ionis is a great example of a relatively low-risk biotech stock worth taking a chance on. And with the Alps Medical Breakthrough ETF, investors don't need to worry about picking and finding these types of stocks themselves. The fund's management fee of 0.50% is also modest, allowing investors to keep the bulk of their returns from this ETF.
2. Amplify Transformational Digital Sharing
Another attractive segment of the market to invest in is blockchain, including crypto (which runs on the technology). Investing in cryptocurrencies may be a bit too risky and volatile for novice or conservative investors to do on their own. A safer way to profit from the popularity of crypto is through a diversified portfolio like the one offered by the Amplify Transformational Digital Sharing ETF. The fund focuses on companies that have exposure to crypto and blockchain.
One of the more popular stocks in the fund is Coinbase Global, which runs a cryptocurrency exchange that makes it easy for users to buy and sell crypto. Coinbase has been generating incredible growth numbers, with sales of $1.3 billion for the period ended Sept. 30, quadrupling from the prior-year period. Another key stock that isn't as directly involved in crypto is chipmaker Nvidia which, like Coinbase, accounts for more than 4% of the ETF's total weight.
Through the Amplify Transformational Digital Sharing ETF, investors don't need to worry about rapidly rising valuations of digital currencies, as the fund simply invests in companies that can merely benefit from their growing popularity rather than holding them. The fund has a slightly higher expense ratio of 0.71%, but that is still reasonable for an actively managed fund, which can be of key importance in a rapidly evolving sector and as new companies emerge in the blockchain world.
Together with the Medical Breakthrough ETF, this fund can help give you great exposure to some volatile sectors and diversify your portfolio.
They may be down, but don't count these ETFs out
Although both of these funds are down around 17% to start the year (worse than the S&P 500's loss of 7%), growth stocks have been struggling of late, so this decline shouldn't be a huge surprise. Over the long term, these could be underrated ETFs to hold in your portfolio as they can help diversify it and add some attractive growth opportunities in the process.