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Why these three money managers are betting big on AI ETFs


AI will likely only grow with regulation

The number of exchange-traded funds in the artificial intelligence space has exploded in the past year.

Big Tech may have led the initial foray into AI, but money managers are now seeing other sectors jump into the space.

“You have the Magnificent Seven, who have access to a lot of data … and that’s where you saw the market driven by those seven names in the first half of the year,” Global X ETFs chief investment officer Jon Maier told CNBC’s “ETF Edge” on Monday. “But what you are seeing is every single company in [the S&P 500] talking about AI and how to effectively use AI.”

Companies are now looking to incorporate AI into their business models, improve efficiencies and figure out how to work with the technology, added Maier.

Global X ETFs manages the Global X Artificial Intelligence and Technology ETF, which looks at the larger AI names in the space and is an option to play the space in a measured way, he said. The ETF is up 39% year to date.

Another ETF that can give investors exposure to AI beyond traditional tech is the Global X Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF, said Maier.

VettaFi’s Todd Rosenbluth agrees that the AI trade is no longer limited to Big Tech.

“What we’re seeing is this is impacting broader sectors,” said Rosenbluth, the firm’s head of research, in the same interview. He said the firm is seeing health care and e-commerce companies benefiting.

VettaFi runs the index behind the ROBO Global Artificial Intelligence ETF, which focuses on companies that develop the technology and infrastructure powering AI, he said.

“You’ll get exposure to healthcare and e-commerce companies within that portfolio as well. This is an ETF that is constructed differently than some of the others in the marketplace,” Rosenbluth added.

“I think we’re in the early stages,” he said. “We’re in year one. We’re likely to see three, five, seven years and why we’re seeing more ETF investors look at these thematic-oriented ETFs.”

One ETF that launched earlier this year aiming to lean into the generative AI theme is the Roundhill Generative AI and Technology ETF.

“So it’s a more concentrated, narrower type of exposure, but one that we believe is beneficial when we think about opportunities for the next generation of AI,” said chief strategy officer Dave Mazza in the same interview.

The ETF focuses on large-cap tech, pure-play AI and semiconductor companies. It is up more than 8% year to date.

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