November wasn’t a great month for ASX shares, as we can now say since December has begun. Over the month just gone, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) went from 7,323.7 points at the end of October to yesterday’s closing figure of 7,256 points. That’s a month-on-month drop of 0.92%. But how did the BetaShares Global Cybersecurity ETF (ASX: HACK) perform?
HACK investors might be used to some healthy market-beating performance by now. That’s because the HACK exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a bit of a high flyer. As of 31 October, it has managed to return an average of 22.86% per annum since its inception in 2016, including a return of 51.49% over the 12 months to 31 October.
So did HACK live up to this reputation over November? Let’s find out.
HACK hacks November
So HACK units were asking a price of $10.41 each as we began November. Yesterday, they finished up at $$10.97 each. That’s a monthly return of 5.38% or so. HACK didn’t pay any dividend distributions over the month either, so that’s also investors’ absolute return for November. It also doesn’t include the 1.4% fall HACK units have suffered so far today either (down at $10.82 a unit at the time of writing).
But even so, that 5.38% return is a meaningful outperformance of the ASX 200 and ASX shares in general. So where did this performance come from?
Well, as an ETF, HACK invests in an underlying basket of assets, in this case shares. Not just any shares, though. This ETF only selects companies from the Nasdaq Consumer Technology Association Cybersecurity Index. This index holds a concentrated portfolio of (presently) 36 shares from around the world. It aims to select companies that are leaders in the global cybersecurity space.
As of 31 November, its top holdings (and weightings) were as follows:
- Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE: PANW) with a portfolio weighting of 7%
- Accenture plc (NYSE: ACN) with a weighting of 6.3%
- Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ: CSCO) with a weighting of 5.5%
- Okta Inc (NASDAQ: OKTA) with a weighting of 4.9%
- Crowdstrike Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: CRWD) with a weighting of 4.7%
So is it likely that the performances of these top holdings were largely behind the BetaShares Cybersecurity ETF’s stellar November? Let’s check it out.
So Palo Alto indeed had an impressive month, rising just under 7.5% over November as of this morning’s (our time) market close over in the US.
Accenture shares slipped 0.4% though over the same period.
Cisco shares also fell, this time by just over 2%.
Okta had a rather wild month, falling almost 13% over November by market close this morning.
And Crowdstrike came out on the bottom, delivering a nasty 23% or so fall over the month just gone.
What was behind the Global Cybersecurity ETF’s stellar month?
So it was actually the performance of HACK’s top holding in Palo Alto that is largely to thank for this ETF’s impressive November. But HACK’s month would have probably been a lot worse if it wasn’t for the Australian dollar also having a very poor month. The Aussie had a shocker, falling by more than 5% against the US dollar over November. It started the month close to 75 US cents, but is currently around 71 US cents as of today.
Since most of HACK’s top holdings are US companies priced in US dollars, a falling Aussie dollar makes these investments more valuable in Australian dollar terms. This would have given the BetaShares Cybersecurity ETF a huge buffer against any falls its portfolio would have suffered.
So there you have it, the likely reasons behind the BetaShares Global Cybersecurity ETF’s stellar November. HACK charges a management fee of 0.57% per annum.