Growth has been a winner among the various investment factors for more than a decade now while value has scuffled, but the recent trade war-induced market decline has weighed on growth stocks. As just one example, the S&P 500 Growth Index is lower by about 2.5% this month and many growth exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are saddled with worse August performances.
Recent price action serves as a reminder that before jumping into growth ETFs, investors should know exactly what they’re getting into, including realizing that by virtue of often large weights to cyclical sectors, growth ETFs can be more volatile than broad market funds.
“A growth company typically has promising earnings potential and tends to invest more in future growth rather than dividend payouts, while a value company tends to be more established, with stable growth rates and dividend distributions,” according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.
So investors should ensure that their high-growth ETFs really are high-growth instruments. Using the S&P 500 Growth Index as a template, that benchmark allocates about 54% of its combined weight to the technology, communication services and consumer discretionary sectors. Investors searching for high-growth ETFs should seek comparable or higher exposure to those three sectors.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few high-growth ETFs with solid long-term potential.
Invesco S&P 500 Pure Growth ETF (RPG)
Expense Ratio: 0.35% per year, or $35 annually per $10,000 invested
The Invesco S&P 500 Pure Growth ETF (NYSEARCA:RPG) follows the S&P 500 Pure Growth Index and that benchmark is a different beast than the aforementioned S&P 500 Growth Index as highlighted by the fact RPG and the more traditional growth index rarely perform in line with each other.
With this high-growth ETF, “growth is measured by the following risk factors: sales growth, earnings change to price and momentum,” according to Invesco.
The integration of earnings variability and momentum to the growth overlay can make RPG more volatile than standard high-growth ETFs, but not alarmingly so. RPG holds over 104 stocks, but features a weight of just 23.53% to the technology sector, which is low relative to the category average.
What makes RPG a compelling high-growth ETF with endurance traits is that it’s not pricey compared to other growth funds, but it does feature a stellar return on equity (ROE) — 42.52% — which is a potentially useful characteristic in turbulent markets.
Vanguard Mega Cap Growth ETF (MGK)
Expense Ratio: 0.07%
For investors looking to focus on mega-cap names via a high-growth ETF, the Vanguard Mega Cap Growth ETF (NYSEARCA:MGK) is a fund that makes a lot of sense and, of course, investors get the benefit of MGK being a cost-friendly Vanguard fund.
In addition to those favorable fees, MGK has outperformed the S&P 500 Growth Index by 240 basis points over the past three years while being only slightly more volatile. True to its mega-cap edict, this high-growth ETF’s 124 components have a median market value of nearly $161 billion.
MGK allocates nearly 61% of its combined weight to technology and consumer cyclical traits that solidify its status as a high-growth ETF. Top 10 holdings in MGK feature five Dow components, including Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
First Trust Small Cap Growth AlphaDEX Fund (FYC)
Expense Ratio: 0.70%
The small-cap growth combination can be a volatile marriage, but for risk-tolerant investors, it can be a winner, too. The First Trust Small Cap Growth AlphaDEX Fund (NASDAQ:FYC) is a pricey high-growth ETF, but it has been among the more solid options in the small-cap growth space.
By adding a qualifier, such as growth, small-cap high-growth ETFs are likely to have fewer components than their traditional rivals and that is the case with FYC as the First Trust fund has just 262 components.
Since this high-growth ETF is a small-cap fund, investors should expect some healthcare exposure and that’s true with FYC as this fund devotes almost 23% of its weight to that sector. Technology and industrial stocks combine for almost a third of FYC’s weight.
Overall, FYC is a unique alternative for investors looking to get away from cap-weighted funds, but the risk with this high-growth ETF is that will not outperform competing strategies by enough over the long-term to merit what is an above-average fee.
Todd Shriber does not own any of the aforementioned securities.