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Cathie Wood expands the heat with the ARK Space Exploration ETF.



Cathie Wood’s new ARK Space Exploration & Innovation ETF ARKX -1.00%

It is on track to be one of the most successful fund launches ever made, despite criticism that it doesn’t necessarily reflect the nascent space exploration market.

Investors poured $ 536.2 million into an actively managed exchange-traded fund known as ARKX in the first five days of trading, according to FactSet data through Tuesday. Analysts said the industry average was three years to raise $ 100 million and gave the fund a top $ 1 billion in assets within days, analysts said.

That success will put funds in a rare company: The fastest ETF to reach $ 1 billion is State Street.of

SPDR Gold Trust GLD -0.03%

The fund, which was a success in just three days in 2004.

“That talks about the overall power of ARK right now,”

; said Nate Geraci, president of the ETF Store, an investment advisory firm. “At this point, investors thought that whatever Cathie Wood touched would turn into gold.”

The fund marks the initial launch of ARK Investment Management LLC in two years and is in stark contrast to the warm welcome that earlier products received. ARK’s flagship innovation fund, started in 2014, took more than 3 1/2 years to reach $ 1 billion. The latest release of an innovative fintech ETF in 2019 lasted about 21 months.

ARK has changed a lot. Over a year, Ms. Wood’s ARK has shifted from a handful of ETF managers to one of the largest fund managers in the United States.The share prices of five of the firm’s other actively managed ETFs have doubled. Or three times in the last year The back of the stock grows soaring like Tesla. Inc.

And Roku Inc. make Ms. Wood a favorite with retail investors who follow all of her tweets and videos.

But these growth stocks were at the center of a sell-off, bringing ARK’s old funds down at least 14 percent from their peaks earlier this year. Rather than launching another master fund linked to technology trade, ARK has tilted nearly half of the ETF space to manufacturers, including Lockheed Martin. Corp

, Boeing Co., Ltd.

And Deere DE -0.03%

& Co., a sector of the stock market that has benefited in recent months from rising interest rates and inflation expectations.

This fund is different enough for investors who say they are Ms. Wood fans, but are wary of putting their money into the uncertain technology trade.

“Most Cathie’s ETFs are tech-intensive,” said 20-year-old William & Mary student Tré Diemer, who said he bought a few thousand dollars of ARKX on Monday. It’s not relevant. ”

He owns a wide variety of growing stocks and has eyeed Ms. Wood’s other funds to house some of the money he earns from working as an emergency medical technician and conducting shipments for DoorDash. Inc.

But other Tech and Ms.

“You can view this as almost as an open ETF,” Diemer said, referring to underlying stocks that are poised to benefit the most from a rebounding economy.

Not everyone is a fan of the fundraiser makeup. Some have entered social media, creating memes to mimic ARK’s decision to merge Deere and other companies that appear to have no significant affiliation with the fund’s theme to invest in space exploration and innovation. One tractor showed that Deer tractor was roaming another Mars landscape on the moon.

For its part, Deere has responded with several memes of its own, including one showing a UFO looking at a tractor. Some analysts said the Deere integration is a less of a stretch considering the company makes satellite navigation machines.

Other stocks included in the fund that appear to be at odds with its mandate include ARK’s passively managed 3D-printing ETFs and Netflix stocks. Inc.

And Amazon.com Inc.

Meanwhile, some truly playable space stocks, such as Maxar Technologies, a satellite and imaging company. Inc.

The cuts were not made.Neither Rocket Lab USA Inc.and Astra Space Inc., the two rocket makers that merged with the Czech company, were not made public.

Ren Leggi, client portfolio manager at ARK, admits the holdings are confusing. But it says it’s all in line with the mandate of the fund. “When we talk about space exploration and innovation, we define it as everything above the ground,” Mr. Leggi said.

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Advances in drone technology play a big role in why many companies, including Amazon, are in the fund, Leggi said. Some of the rocket parts were 3D printed for the abandoned space company, Leggi said, saying some of their valuations were too rich, especially those involved in exclusive acquisitions, while others did not. Go through a preliminary assessment of whether a stock can maintain a 15% annual yield.

“We will continue to monitor a large number of companies in the event that we get a broader sales market environment and we can come in at an attractive price,” said Mr. Leggi.

Some investors are still not convinced.

“I don’t like holding too much,” said Carter Wang, who is 19 and has about $ 3,000 in four ARK funds. It’s the prime reason behind the company’s many fund investment decisions, but Wang, a key business management economist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, called the odd combination of ARK’s 3D-printed ETFs made him pass the funds.

For many ARK investors, Ms. Wood’s past performance is key, with ARKX stocks trading for around $ 21. The company, by comparison, is ARK’s innovative fund, whose share price is six times higher since its launch in 2014 and continues to attract investors’ interest (ETFs hit record daily inflows last week, drawing revenue. More than $ 700 million)

“It doesn’t really bother me,” said James Carter, a 31-year-old technology writer in Washington, D.C., who bought a stake on the first day of trading for the Space Fund. He said there had been an idea of ​​investing in the fund since he first heard about it earlier this year, prior to any underlying stock announcement.He ruled out the possibility that the fund would end up with company shares. Elon Musk’s private rocket Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

“I’m late,” with other funds, Mr. Carter said of his other ARK investments, “so I set aside extra money for the new ARK fund just because of my interest in ARK. I wanted to get in first.”

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Write to Michael Wursthorn at Michael.Wursthorn@wsj.com

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