5G isn’t even here yet, but a few ETFs based on the tech are soaring

The prospect of 5G is already paying off.

Three exchange-traded funds pegged to the rise of fifth-generation connectivity, the next phase of wireless communications often referred to as 5G, are outpacing the S&P 500 so far in 2019.

While the S&P 500 has gained over 12 percent this year, the Pacer Benchmark Data & Infrastructure Real Estate ETF, the ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF and the Ark Fintech Innovation ETF have all managed to top its run. The Disruptive Technologies ETF is up nearly 21 percent.

And even though the 5G rollout is still very much in its early innings, some market-watchers expect even more upside for these funds.

“A lot of the disruptive opportunity will come as a result of 5G taking shape globally,” Chris Hempstead, head of ETF Sales at Deutsche Bank, told CNBC’s “ETF Edge.” “These ETFs that are levered to 5G technology are looking to be on the leading edge of the 5G revolution, so the names that are in these indices are going to be the names that bring 5G to us.”

In the case of the Data & Infrastructure Real Estate ETF — a tangential way to invest in the data boom that 5G adoption could generate — those names include data center operators like Equinix and real estate investment trusts involved in wireless communications like American Tower. That ETF made a fresh 52-week high on Friday.

The ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF has a variety of holdings that include the stocks of Zscaler, First Data and iRobot. The Ark Fintech Innovation ETF’s top 10 holdings include Tesla, Nvidia and Twitter.

“I think the next iteration from that will be ETFs that start to isolate the companies that are going to benefit the most from 5G technology coming to market,” Hempstead said.

Hardeep Walia, the founder and CEO of Motif — a company that just partnered with Goldman Sachs to build its signature thematic ETFs for the big bank — agreed, telling CNBC that his company’s Goldman Sachs Motif Data-Driven World ETF already includes some 5G-related holdings.

“It’s going to affect internet of things. It’s going to generate massive amount of data. You’re going to need more AI. You’re going to need more attempts to keep it secure,” Walia said. “So [in] every part of the data innovation cycle, 5G [is] a good driver.”

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