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A 'Space ETF' Hopes Its Trading Symbol (UFO) Isn't a Warning -- Journal Report

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07/08/2019 | 10:18pm EDT

By Gerrard Cowan

Fifty years after Apollo 11 landed on the moon, a new exchange-traded fund is reaching for the stars.

Procure Space ETF blasted off in April, bearing the ticker UFO. The fund has gathered just over $8 million in assets under management as of the end of June.

UFO aims to invest at least 80% of its assets in companies that derive a majority of their revenue from space-related activities, says Andrew Chanin, chief executive of fund manager ProcureAM. This includes satellite manufacturers, where the space-related nature of the work is clear. However, it can also include companies in sectors like telecommunications or television, so long as they rely on space-related activities. The fund's top 10 holdings include names like satellite manufacturer Maxar Technologies and Iridium Communications, which oversees the global Iridium constellation of communications satellites. About 20% of the fund is invested in companies that are heavily involved in the space business without it being their main focus -- Airbus and Boeing, for instance.

The goal is to provide investors with access to a rapidly growing industry, says Mr. Chanin. He points to research from Morgan Stanley, published in November, that predicted the global space industry could generate $1.1 trillion or more in revenue by 2040, up from $350 billion today. Mr. Chanin says he is particularly excited by the opportunities presented by satellite delivery of broadband internet access.

UFO provides a convenient way to access an exciting theme, says Neena Mishra, director of ETF research at Zacks Investment Research. However, she notes that many of the high-profile companies in the growing industry -- such as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic -- are privately owned, and so unavailable through the fund, though they do have some partnerships with public companies.

Mr. Cowan is a writer in Northern Ireland. He can be reached at reports@wsj.com.

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