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Should First Trust Capital Strength ETF (FTCS) Be on Your Investing Radar?

Zacks Equity Research
Philip Morris' (PM) Q2 results gain from growth in heated tobacco units and favorable pricing. However, decline in cigarette shipment volumes were a drag.

Designed to provide broad exposure to the Large Cap Blend segment of the US equity market, the First Trust Capital Strength ETF (FTCS) is a passively managed exchange traded fund launched on 07/06/2006.

The fund is sponsored by First Trust Advisors. It has amassed assets over $1.50 B, making it one of the larger ETFs attempting to match the Large Cap Blend segment of the US equity market.

Why Large Cap Blend

Large cap companies typically have a market capitalization above $10 billion. Considered a more stable option, large cap companies boast more predictable cash flows and are less volatile than their mid and small cap counterparts.

Typically holding a combination of both growth and value stocks, blend ETFs also demonstrate qualities seen in value and growth investments.

Costs

Since cheaper funds tend to produce better results than more expensive funds, assuming all other factors remain equal, it is important for investors to pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.61%, making it one of the more expensive products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.24%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure which minimizes single stock risk, it is still important to look into a fund's holdings before investing. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation to the Industrials sector--about 22.90% of the portfolio. Financials and Information Technology round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Starbucks Corporation (SBUX) accounts for about 2.33% of total assets, followed by American Tower Corporation (AMT) and The Procter & Gamble Company (PG).

The top 10 holdings account for about 22.27% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

FTCS seeks to match the performance of the The Capital Strength Index before fees and expenses. The Capital Strength Index is an equal-dollar weighted index which provides exposure to well-capitalized companies with strong market positions based on strong balance sheets, high degree of liquidity, ability to generate earnings growth & record financial strength & profit growth.

The ETF has gained about 1.97% so far this year and is down about -5.52% in the last one year (as of 01/14/2019). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $45.20 and $55.82.

The ETF has a beta of 0.92 and standard deviation of 12.43% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 50 holdings, it has more concentrated exposure than peers.

Alternatives

First Trust Capital Strength ETF carries a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Thus, FTCS is a reasonable option for those seeking exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Blend area of the market. Investors might also want to consider some other ETF options in the space.

The iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV) and the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) track a similar index. While iShares Core S&P 500 ETF has $155.25 B in assets, SPDR S&P 500 ETF has $247.39 B. IVV has an expense ratio of 0.04% and SPY charges 0.09%.

Bottom-Line

Retail and institutional investors increasingly turn to passively managed ETFs because they offer low costs, transparency, flexibility, and tax efficiency; these kind of funds are also excellent vehicles for long term investors.

To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center.


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