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5 Overlooked Dividend ETFs Worth Buying Now

Sweta Killa

With a rates hike on the cards and higher bond yields, the three-year incredible journey of dividend stocks and ETFs hit the brakes in the first half of 2015. In fact, dividend ETFs saw a rough stretch in the same period with outflows of over $2 billion (read: Are Dividend ETFs Losing Their Multi-Year Shine?).


This is especially true as the Fed is on track to raise interest rates sometime later this year, albeit at a slower pace, provided the job market continues to show improvement. Bond yields have risen for much of this year, taking away the sheen from these stocks. However, the return of volatility in the stock market and uncertainty across the globe has rekindled investors’ love for the products that provide stability and safety in a rocky market. Nothing seems a better strategy than picking dividend-focused products in this kind of an environment.


In particular, the Chinese stocks have been on a wild ride over the past few days, Europe is struggling with slower growth, the Japanese economy lost its momentum and many emerging economies is experiencing a slowdown despite rounds of monetary easing. Further, a strong dollar and lower oil prices have added to the global growth worries.


Dividend-focused products offer safety in the form of payouts while at the same time provide stability in the form of mature companies that are less volatile to the large swings in the stock prices. The dividend paying securities are the major sources of consistent income for investors to create wealth when returns from the equity market are at risk. This is because the companies that pay dividends generally act as a hedge against economic uncertainty and provide downside protection by offering outsized payouts or sizable yields on a regular basis.


That being said, we highlight five dividend ETFs for investors seeking yields and returns in a rocky market. Though investors overlook these funds due to their lower AUM of under $500 million, they yield at least higher than the S&P 500, making them excellent choices in the current market turmoil.


iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF (DGRO)


This fund provides exposure to the companies having a history of consistently growing dividends by tracking the Morningstar US Dividend Growth Index. Holding 326 stocks in its basket, the fund has a well-diversified exposure across various sectors and securities. Industrials, consumer staples, consumer discretionary, health care and technology are the top five sectors with double-digit allocation each and none of the securities accounts for more than 3.02% of assets (read: 5 Dividend ETFs for Growth).  


The fund has AUM of $208.9 million and trades in volume of about 50,000 shares. Expense ratio came in at 0.12%. The ETF is modestly up 0.8% in the year-to-date timeframe and has a good dividend yield of 2.26%. It has a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 or ‘Hold’ rating with a Medium risk outlook.   


PowerShares Dividend Achievers Portfolio (PFM)


This fund has amassed $324.1 million in its asset base and trades in lower volume of around 37,000 shares a day on average. Expense ratio came in at 0.55%. The product provides exposure to the companies that have increased their annual dividend for 10 or more consecutive fiscal years by tracking the NASDAQ US Broad Dividend Achievers Index.


The fund is widely diversified across various securities, each accounting for less than 4.2% share. From a sector look, about one-fourth of the portfolio is dominated by consumer staples, while industrials (13.5%), energy (11.4%), and information technology (10.7%) round off the next three spots. PFM is down 1.9% so far this year and has an annual dividend yield of 2.13%. The fund has a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 with a Medium risk outlook.


FlexShares Quality Dividend Defensive Index Fund (QDEF)


With AUM of $192 million, the product fund follows the Northern Trust Quality Dividend Defensive Index, which offers exposure to a high-quality income-oriented portfolio of U.S. stocks with an emphasis on long-term capital growth and a beta higher than the Northern Trust 1250 Index. In total, the fund holds 197 stocks in its basket that are well spread out across securities with none holding more than 4.04% of assets (read: High Quality Stocks, ETFs to Beat the Market).


In terms of sector holdings, financials, information technology, consumer staples, consumer discretionary and health care are the top five sectors. QDEF trades in a paltry volume of about 17,000 shares while charges 37 bps in expense ratio. The fund has gained 1.8% in the year-to-date timeframe and has a good dividend yield of 2.50% per annum.


Global X SuperDividend U.S. ETF (DIV)


This fund provides exposure to the highest dividend yielding U.S. securities by tracking the INDXX SuperDividend U.S. Low Volatility Index. It has amassed $285.2 million in its asset base while trades in moderate volume of about 94,000 shares. The ETF charges 45 bps in fees per year from investors.


Holding 51 securities in its basket, the product is widely diversified across each component as none of these holds more than 2.65% of assets. However, utilities accounts for one-fourth of the portfolio, closely followed by real estate (23%), energy (13%) and consumer staples (12%). The product has a high annual dividend yield of 7.14% and is down about 7% so far this year. It has a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 with a Medium risk outlook (read: 5 Red Hot Dividend ETFs Yielding 5% or More).   


Guggenheim S&P Global Dividend Opportunities Index ETF (LVL)


For investors seeking global exposure, LVL seems an intriguing pick. This fund follows the S&P Global Dividend Opportunities Index, holding 99 securities in its basket. It is well diversified across components as each security holds no more than 3.3% share. From a sector look, energy and financials take the top two spots with 27.3% and 22.1% share, respectively.


In terms of country exposure, the U.S., Canada, Australia and United Kingdom make up for the top four countries with double-digit exposure each. The ETF has accumulated just $65.5 million in AUM and sees light average daily volume of less than 28,000 shares. It charges 65 bps in fees per year from investors and has an impressive yield of 7.05% per annum. The fund has lost 10.6% in the year-to-date timeframe.


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ISHRS-CORE DG (DGRO): ETF Research Reports
 
PWRSH-DIV ACH (PFM): ETF Research Reports
 
FLEXS-Q DIV DEF (QDEF): ETF Research Reports
 
GLBL-X SPRDV US (DIV): ETF Research Reports
 
GUGG-SP GLBL DV (LVL): ETF Research Reports
 
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