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These Are 2021's Next Big Themes, According to Two Top ETF Managers

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Hydrogen could be one of 2021's next big investing themes, says one top ETF manager.

Its potential to take the clean energy industry by storm drove Global X ETFs to launch its Hydrogen ETF (HYDR) in mid-July, the firm's senior vice president and head of research and strategy, Jay Jacobs, told CNBC's "ETF Edge" this week.

"To go back a little bit into history, 11 years ago last week we launched a lithium and battery tech ETF," Jacobs said in the Monday interview. "Over the course of 11 years, electric vehicles have gone from about 0% of the global auto industry to about 3% of the global auto industry."

Hydrogen's trajectory over the next several decades could look very similar, Jacobs said.

"We think the next long-term trend is going to be the shift to hydrogen, not necessarily displacing lithium batteries, but just a new form of clean power that can power trucks, that can power trains, that can power boats," he said.

Though Tesla CEO Elon Musk famously wrote off hydrogen power as "mind-bogglingly stupid" in 2019, it has plenty of use cases in heavy industrial capacities, Jacobs said.

For example, while it may not make sense to have a fuel cell-powered passenger vehicle, fuel cells could reduce weight loads for trucks because they are significantly lighter than batteries, he said.

"From a pure efficiency perspective, heavy transport really favors hydrogen. On top of that, you see way more solar, you see way more wind that's being put onto the grid that's creating power intermittently," he said.

"Hydrogen is actually a very efficient way of storing that excess power when it's not being used. You can put that hydrogen in a truck, you can ship it over to another country that maybe wants it, but it's a very efficient form of battery for excess renewable power."

Clean living could join clean energy as one of 2021's top themes, Amplify ETFs founder and CEO Christian Magoon said in the same "ETF Edge" interview.

Amplify has seen a lot of interest in its recently launched Cleaner Living ETF (DTOX), particularly from those also interested in ESG, or environmental, social and governance-based investing, Magoon said.

The firm is also preparing to launch an digital and online trading ETF that holds the likes of Coinbase, Charles Schwab and Robinhood, the CEO said.

"This digital asset marketplace, online trading marketplace that's app-friendly, mobile-friendly, we think that's a fast-growing area within financial services that is really capitalizing on the trend around the world for investors to trade stocks, bonds, commodities, cryptocurrencies, digital assets and that will be launched here in September," he said.


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