While it is by far the largest, the U.S. is not the only credible dividend destination on the developed markets block.
About three-quarters of dividends paid in the world are paid by companies based outside the U.S. Additionally, international dividend stocks and exchange traded funds have become increasingly popular because they often feature more tempting yields than their U.S. equivalents. There is a growing number of ETFs dedicated to developed market dividend payers from which investors can choose. [Going Global for Dividend ETFs]
The widely followed MSCI EAFE Index, excluding its substantial weight to Japan, is home to several potent ex-U.S. developed dividend markets, indicating that a dedicated EAFE dividend can itself be a potent option for income investors. The WisdomTree DEFA Equity Income Fund (DTH) belongs in the developed markets dividend ETF conversation.
DTH tracks the WisdomTree DEFA Equity Income Index, which includes the highest yielding 30% of the WisdomTree DEFA Index and weighs those firms on the basis of annual cash dividends paid.
Due to its dividend emphasis, DTH excludes Japan. Japan, the largest country weight in the MSCI EAFE Index, may yet become a viable dividend destination and there are signs dividends in the world’s third-largest economy are growing. However, DTH’s exclusion of Japan is not a detriment to the ETF. [ETFs for Japan's Dividend Growth]
In fact, DTH’s country profile ensures a stout dividend yield. The WisdomTree DEFA Equity Income Index has a dividend yield of almost 5.3% compared to a trailing 12-month yield of about 3.5% on the MSCI EAFE Index.
DTH’s robust yield is not only the byproduct of excluding Japan, but more importantly, a combined 40% weight to the U.K. and Australia. British companies accounted for about 11% of global dividends paid last year, second only to the U.S.
Australian companies paid $40.3 billion in dividends last year, nearly double the amount paid in 2012. That was good for the largest dividend increase among the world’s 10 largest equity markets in the developed world. Foreign investors already know about the allure of Australian dividends. About $9 billion of the country’s payouts through the third quarter of 2013 went to foreign investors, Bloomberg reported, citing the Australian Bureau of Statistics. [Aussie Dividends on the Rise]
Likewise, investors have warmed to DTH. A year ago, the ETF had just over $265 million in assets under management. That number is now up to almost $319 million.
WisdomTree DEFA Equity Income Fund