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What are FAANG stocks and how do you invest in them?

Here's how to get your hands on some of the biggest tech companies in the world.

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If you’re interested in global investing, you’ve probably heard of FAANG stocks – and for a very good reason. FAANGs are some of the most successful and well-known global tech companies of the last decade.

They’ve become a big deal in New Zealand in the last few years because investors have started to become more aware of the big profit opportunities overseas companies offer.

New Zealand’s stock exchange, the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX), represents just 0.12% of the world’s total share market value. This means that if New Zealand investors aren’t thinking globally when it comes to their investment decisions, they could be missing out on some huge opportunities. Some of the world’s biggest and most exciting companies – such as FAANG stocks – will not be found on the NZX. However, Kiwis can still get in on them.

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Can I buy FAANG stocks on the NZX?

No, you cannot directly buy the likes of Netflix, Google, Amazon or Facebook shares on the NZX. These major tech companies are not listed in New Zealand, but are instead listed on the Nasdaq in the United States.

But don’t worry. You can access the Nasdaq from New Zealand and buy these shares directly through an online broker that offers US stocks. You can check out some of these in the comparison table below.

You can also access these stocks on the NZX via an exchange traded fund (ETF). We’ll tell you how to do this later in the guide.

What’s the Nasdaq?

The Nasdaq Stock Market is an American stock exchange. It’s second only to the New York Stock Exchange by market capitalisation and is home to many of the world’s leading high-tech companies seeking to list their shares. Some of the largest companies in the world are primarily listed on the Nasdaq.

This is where investors will find shares in Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN).

How can I access stocks that are listed on the Nasdaq?

New Zealand investors can typically invest in international shares in three ways: using a broker or online broking platform, through a managed fund, or through an exchange traded fund (ETF).

Broker

You can purchase individual shares in companies by using a stockbroker or through an online broking platform using an international share-trading account, depending on how much advice you need.

For amateur investors who want advice, a full-service stockbroker might be a worthwhile option. Be aware that this is not a cheap option. Stockbrokers usually charge commission of around $50–$150 per trade, which means it’s typically only worth the cost if you’re investing a large sum of money.

If you don’t need advice, a cheaper and often easier option to purchase individual shares in a company is through an international share trading account on an online broking platform. The fees range in price and are charged per transaction. However, because it is a DIY approach it will be cheaper than a full-service stockbroker.

Online broking platforms offer a range of services to help you do your own research, including daily market commentaries, analysts’ research, ratings advice and company profiles.

Some of New Zealand’s banks have an online broking arm or you can open an international share-trading account with an online trading provider.

Managed fund

If you don’t have the time, expertise or money to buy individual shares in a company directly, a investing in a managed fund pools your money with money from other investors and an investment manager manages it on your behalf, for a fee.

You buy into the fund by purchasing units or shares in the fund. By pooling your money with other investors you can tap into much wider opportunities that would be out of reach as an individual investor.

Each managed fund will have a specific investment objective, so you need to carefully choose a fund that suits your financial goals.

Managed funds can be bought directly from the fund manager, through a financial adviser or through an online broker.

Exchange traded fund (ETF)

ETFs can be a cost-effective way of purchasing international shares. They are similar to a managed fund in that they are made up of a group of shares and can be bought and sold on a stock exchange.

However, unlike managed funds that are chosen and managed by an investment manager, ETFs track the returns of a specific index or market sector; that is, they mirror the movements and return of a particular market, just on a smaller scale.

They can be bought and sold like ordinary shares through a stockbroker or online trading account. There are a range of ETFs available that track various indices, including the Nasdaq-100 index — the top 100 companies listed on the Nasdaq stock market, which includes Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix and Apple.

How to buy FAANG stocks in New Zealand with an international share trading account

Follow these steps:

  1. Compare share trading accounts. Look at the brokerage fees, what international exchanges you can access, currency exchange rates and help and advice offered.
  2. Open your account. You’ll need to provide your personal details and verify your identity. You’ll also need to supply the details of your linked New Zealand bank account.
  3. Fund your linked cash account. Make sure you have enough money in your account to purchase the shares you wish to buy.
  4. Place an order. Within your online share trading portal, navigate to your international share trading account. Look for the shares you want to buy using the trading code (for example, Netflix is listed as NASDAQ: NFLX). Fill in the order form with the number of shares you wish to purchase and your desired purchase price. When your target price has been hit, your order will be executed.

For more detailed instructions, take a look at our international share trading guide.

Netflix or Amazon? Google or Facebook? How to choose which international stocks to buy

International shares give you access to larger markets outside New Zealand to diversify your investment portfolio. However, you shouldn’t jump into the global markets without doing your due diligence.

  • Take time to understand the economy and financial environment of the country you are investing in, such as interest rates, exchange rates, government and fiscal policy and investor sentiment.
  • Decide if you want to invest for capital growth (long-term investment) or regular income in the form of dividends (short-term investment). As a rule of thumb, large companies like those on the Nasdaq tend to pay high dividends, whereas smaller companies tend to reinvest profits rather than pay dividends.
  • Familiarise yourself with the company you are investing in by reading annual reports and company alerts, and compare companies in the same industry.
  • Always invest in what you know. If you are passionate about the vision of a company or the industry it is in, you are more likely to recognise when it is a good investment or not.

What are the tax implications of purchasing international stocks?

If you are a New Zealand resident for tax purposes, you must declare income from overseas investments in your tax return, including from international shares.

How you will be taxed on your international shares depends on what kind of investments you have and in which countries. Check out our guide on share trading, as well as IRD’s information on the tax treatment of investments. Always seek professional financial advice before investing in international shares.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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