The ProShares MSCI Transformational Changes ETF (NYSEARCA:ANEW) can help your portfolio prepare for the future. After all, if there’s one thing we learned in the last year and a half, it’s that everything can change. New ideas, new technologies, can alter the way we interact with one another and the world. And the ANEW ETF helps investors hitch their wagon to the companies that are making those changes.
And now that we are moving past the unexpected global shift of Covid-19, the ANEW ETF can really shine.
This forward-focused fund seeks innovators in four categories: future of work, digital consumer, food revolution and genomics and telehealth. That covers almost all major aspects of life, from work to health to recreation.
And well-positioned stocks in each of ANEW’s categories help investors make money on these sea changes.
ANEW Focus: The New Normal of Work
Over the last year, the world has learned to accommodate working from home more thoroughly than anyone expected. The fear of Covid-19 spreading led some businesses to close their doors. Government-issued stay-at-home orders and bans on large gatherings forced others to make changes.
As ProShares noted in its series A Year of Transformational Change, “By April 2020, 62% of American workers had the ability to work remotely.”
And while many companies want to return to the old way of doing things, well over 70% of workers want to continue working remotely at least two days a week, and over half want the ability to work remotely three times a week.
All this working from home means more digital demands — and ANEW has it covered. Cybersecurity names like CyberArk (NASDAQ:CYBR) and Crowdstrike (NASDAQ:CRWD) protect information as it flows back and forth or is stored online. Meanwhile, companies like Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) have the hardware and software to enable quick, clear collaboration even among coworkers who are countries apart.
So as ProShares pointed out, the pandemic forced changes that companies will carry forward. “Companies needed to become more efficient and technologies such as machine learning, decision support tools, big data analysis, and the Internet of Things (IoT) helped navigate the difficult environment.”
The Digital Consumer
But it’s not just work — Covid-19 changed a lot about how we live our lives. Just look at how the world truly embraced e-commerce in 2020 and the first part of 2021.
Now, I’m not claiming we weren’t already rushing headlong into the digital future back in 2019. But 2020 sparked a truly massive shift. Online food orders more than doubled. And more fundamental, we started ordering more health necessities online — to the tune of a 61% increase. Global digital payments are poised to grow over 11% per year through 2026 to a projected value of $11.29 trillion — with a “T.” That’s why ANEW taps several of the companies at the forefront of the e-commerce world — including Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Alibaba (NYSE:BABA).
Then there’s the world of entertainment. Love it or hate it, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) saw a nearly 25% increase in its revenue. Movies and shows are more commonly released on streaming either instead of or at the same time as on TV or in movie theaters. Sure, we may now be able to go back to the movies. But more people are discovering the joy of opening night on their own couch. They can enjoy their own sub-$1 popcorn and a pause button for bathroom breaks. I don’t think we’re ever going back.
And then there’s video games. The entertainment form has matured. As ProShares put it, “Gaming is no longer child’s play. Industry revenues show that gaming is presently a bigger moneymaker than the global movie and North American sports industries combined.” ANEW constituents like Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) and Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) give investors plenty of access to some of the leaders in the space.
ANEW Focus: The Future of Food
During the pandemic, we got a feel for just how delicate our food supply chain can be. Food on shelves dwindled, supply chains choked up, and the disease itself ran rampant through almost 240 separate meat-processing facilities. And amid it all, as mentioned above, food delivery surged.
In a world where ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing is a growing corner of the markets, there are companies like Givaudan, which is focused not just on the flavors and scents it sells, but also “creating for happier, healthier lives with love for nature.” Or Kerry Group, whose mission includes, “Co-creating with customers to sustainably shape the future.”
That should appeal to younger generations — 77% of millennial investors, for example, say ESG is important to them as investors.
ProShares also pointed out changes even in how we approach plant-based food. It writes, “Sustainable practices like using smaller, autonomous tractors that place less burden on the land, artificial intelligence algorithms to minimize water use and maximize yield, or drones that identify crop regions to target pesticide use are becoming more commonplace.”
That’s where companies like Deere (NYSE:DE) come in. The company places “a growing emphasis on innovating productive, precise, and reliable automated machines that actively learn and adapt with our customers.”
Finally, lets talk about healthcare and medical treatment — perhaps the main example of cultural shifts that Covid-19 forced.
After all, biotech company Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) made headlines with the approval of its Covid vaccine, mRNA-1273. As the name suggests, Moderna created this vaccine using messenger RNA, or mRNA. MRNA vaccines represent an exciting step forward for the medical field. The medical field is looking into their application from everything from rabies and HIV to the flu — and many more could be added in the future.
And much like with the vaccines, advancements in genomics will also be with us to stay. As ProShares wrote, “Companies like Moderna and Novavax have already made great strides in bringing genomic treatments mainstream, and more companies are waiting in the wings. Editing the human genome is still in its early stages but offers the real possibility of treating diseases and degenerative conditions that were once thought incurable.”
Also, between February 2020 and April 2020, telehealth usage grew 78x, according to McKinsey and Company. And while that number has pulled back, telehealth remained 38x higher in February 2021 than a year prior. People got the convenience of seeing a doctor from the comfort of their own home, and they liked it. Telehealth is here to stay, and ANEW constituents like Teladoc (NYSE:TDOC) are poised to capitalize.
On the date of publication, Jessica Loder did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Jessica Loder is deputy managing editor for InvestorPlace.com.