As the world has searched for ways to prevent and treat COVID-19 and as homebound workers have sought better ways to function remotely, various stocks that deal in products and services related to these needs have soared. For instance, vaccine maker Moderna and Zoom Video Communications have more than tripled this year. But it could be risky for investors to bet on these types of stocks individually.
Three exchange-traded funds (ETFs) launched in June each invest in dozens of fast-growing companies related to one or more of these ventures, so investors may benefit if some of the stocks rise while others falter. Even so, they are designed for aggressive investors who can handle plenty of volatility. How to evaluate these ETFs…
Direxion Work From Home (WFH) targets 40 stocks that foster remote work, ranging from Zoom to cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike Holdings to Box, which enables workers to share files and collaborate online. Investment verdict: Consider it for the long term. Even after the pandemic recedes, businesses will continue to allow many employees to work remotely.
ETFMG Treatments Testing and Advancements (GERM) invests in nearly 60 stocks—from testing company Quest Diagnostics to Alnylam Pharmaceuticals to vaccine makers Moderna and Novavax. Investment verdict: Consider it for the short-term. The fund could excel over the next year or two, but once the FDA approves COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, many of this ETF’s stocks will lose their appeal.
Pacer BioThreat Strategy ETF (VIRS) invests in about 45 stocks ranging from virus fighters to stay-at-home helpers to providers of goods to stockpile for natural disasters. Investment verdict: Avoid this ETF, which has attracted only about $4 million in assets, has high fees and includes such widely held stocks as Amazon.com, Walmart and The Home Depot in addition to Moderna, Netflix and Zoom.