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Two ETFs for Google, General Electric

Mutual Funds
Jay Brousseau | Stone | Getty Images
Mutual Funds

Given the company's massive pile of cash and numerous acquisitions throughout 2010, a growing crowd of market commentators are looking to Google as the General Electric of the 21st century. Using exchange-traded funds, it is possible to gain ample exposure to either of these firms.

Throughout 2010, Google has been on a remarkable shopping spree. Often considered a one trick pony, the tech goliath has taken a number of steps in hopes of expanding beyond the search engine business which has traditionally been the firm's bread and butter.

Since February, the company has bought at least one name a month, expanding its reach into various outlets. Companies acquired by the firm in 2010 include industries such as social gaming, photo editing, advertising, and travel technology.

Google's Android operating system is quickly gaining market share among smart phone users, pitting it head to head with other wireless industry leaders such as Apple.

The firm is also becoming increasingly involved in the alternative energy realm as well. Google recently announced that it was teaming with a collection of other firms to invest $5 billion in a massive offshore wind farm slated to be built along the East Coast of the U.S., stretching from New Jersey to Virginia.

ETF investors confident in Google's chances of becoming the next big U.S. conglomerate should look to the First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index Fund (FDN). This fund is designed to track a basket of companies which are leading the way when it comes to the Internet industry.

Google is the fund's top holdings representing nearly 12% of the fund's total index. Other holdings include Amazon, Salesforce and Netflix .

General Electric has long been a household name when it comes to U.S. conglomerates. However, the firm has struggled to regain its footing after nearly collapsing amidst the financial meltdown leading up to the most recent global economic crisis.

The strongest play

In order to put these dark times behind them and return to strength, the firm has taken steps to realign its business back towards its industrial roots. This process has included paring back its financial arm, GE Capital, and making an effort to shed its NBC Universal branch. Now it appears as though General Electric is back in the buying mood as well.

Confidence is on the rebound for GE, with its CEO Jeff Immelt recently saying that the worst is behind them. Another top executive offered cautious optimism for the company's future, explaining that the firm has the capability to spend $30 billion on M&A activity over the next two to three years.

In October the firm has put its money to work, spending $3 billion to purchase gas engine maker, Dresser Inc. As we look ahead, it will be interesting to see where GE will turn to next on its path as it seeks to bounce back.

The strongest play for investors looking for exposure to General Electric is the Industrial Select Sector SPDR Fund.

XLI tracks a collection of household names hailing from the industrial industry. GE represents the fund's largest position accounting for over 10% of the fund's portfolio. Other positions include UPS, 3M, Boeing, and Caterpillar.

Whether you favor watching the ascension of Google or the resurrection of GE, the future of U.S. conglomerates appears promising. Investors have a great chance to bank on the industry's success with ETFs.

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