Unusual Suspect Lifts Social Media ETF

The Global X Social Media Index ETF (NYSE:SOCL) is perhaps most known for being the first ETF to make room for Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and for featuring one of the largest allocations to the social media darling's shares, currently almost 12.1 percent.

However, it is not Facebook that is the primary driver SOCL's 1.8 percent gain Thursday. The stock giving SOCL a boost is Yandex (NASDAQ:YNDX), often referred to as the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) of Russia. Shares of the Russian Internet search giant are up nearly 16 percent after the company said its first-quarter revenue surged 36 percent. More importantly, Yandex raised its 2013 revenue growth estimate to 30 percent to 35 percent from a prior estimate of 28 percent to 32 percent.

Yandex went public two years and despite the obvious comparisons to Google, the former has been not been anywhere close to the latter in terms of performance. Prior to Thursday, shares of Yandex had plunged almost 45 percent since the May 2011 initial public offering. On the other hand, Google shares are up 57 percent since mid-May 2011 and that is despite that fact that Google's share of the Russian search market is not even half that of Yandex's.

Still, SOCL shareholders are probably happy about Yandex's contributions to the ETF's good fortune Thursday. SOCL's status as "the Facebook ETF," has obfuscated a decent year-to-date performance. The ETF was up 7.7 percent heading into Thursday's session. That status has also obfuscated the fact that Facebook is not the ETF's largest holding.

That honor goes to LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), which accounts for almost 15.8 percent of SOCL's weight, according to Global X data. With that stock flirting with $190, SOCL is a valid avenue for capital-constrained investors looking for LinkedIn exposure.

On a related note, Yandex accounts for just over four percent of SOCL's weight, making it the ETF's ninth-largest holding. That may not sound impressive, but although Yandex now has a market value north of $8 billion and what one would assume is superior brand recognition in its home country, the stock is not an important part of Russia-specific ETFs.

Russia ETFs are cheap on valuation, but they are also stingy with Yandex exposure. The Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSE:RSX) has no exposure to the stock, nor does the iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund (NYSE:ERUS).

The SPDR S&P Russia ETF (NYSE:RBL) does feature slight Yandex exposure. Emphasis on "slight" because Yandex is merely RBL's number 31 holding with a weight of 0.58 percent.

So SOCL is the Facebook ETF. It is also the LinkedIn ETF and it can be said SOCL is the Yandex ETF. Today, that is a good thing.

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