All eyes on Apple

Tech investors anxiously await Apple’s quarterly earnings as a sign of whether technology stocks will continue to outperform the broader market.

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Apple (AAPL) has more than doubled in 2009, far outpacing the 24% gain for the SPDR S&P 500 (SPY).  With a $169 billion market cap, Apple is one of the largest companies in a technology sector that has lead this year’s recovery in equities.

Strong sales of iPods, iPhones and computers as well as software upgrades are expected to deliver another strong quarter for Apple. The real question to be answered by tonight’s earnings announcement is whether Apple’s performance can keep up with investor expectations.

ETF investors can gain the greatest exposure to Apple through the PowerShares QQQ (QQQQ) which has a 15.0% stake in Apple.  Another choice is the PowerShares Nasdaq-100 BuyWrite Portfolio (PQBW) with 15.3% of the fund in Apple.  With similar holdings to QQQ, PQBW lowers the fund’s cost basis through a covered call writing strategy.

Tech sector ETFs also have large positions in Apple.  The Dow Jones U.S. Technology Sector Index Fund (IYW) has 9.0% of the fund in Apple while the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK) has an 8.2% allocation to the tech giant.

For more ETF investing choices, see the ETF Directory for a complete list of Sector ETFs.