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Is First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index Fund (FGD) a Strong ETF Right Now?

Zacks Equity Research

The First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index Fund (FGD) made its debut on 11/21/2007, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund that provides broad exposure to the Broad Developed World ETFs category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

The ETF industry has long been dominated by products based on market cap weighted indexes, a strategy created to reflect the market or a particular market segment.

A good option for investors who believe in market efficiency, market cap weighted indexes offer a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns.

However, some investors believe in the possibility of beating the market through exceptional stock selection, and choose a different type of fund that tracks non-cap weighted strategies: smart beta.

Based on specific fundamental characteristics, or a combination of such, these indexes attempt to pick stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance.

The smart beta space gives investors many different choices, from equal-weighting, one of the simplest strategies, to more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting. However, not all of these methodologies have been able to deliver remarkable returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

The fund is managed by First Trust Advisors. FGD has been able to amass assets over $504.80 M, making it one of the average sized ETFs in the Broad Developed World ETFs. FGD, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index.

This Index is an indicated annual dividend yield weighted index of 100 stocks selected from the developed-market portion of the Dow Jones World Index.

Cost & Other Expenses

Investors should also pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio. Lower cost products will produce better results than those with a higher cost, assuming all other metrics remain the same.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.58%, making it one of the more expensive products in the space.

FGD's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 8.67%.

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.

When you look at individual holdings, Standard Life Aberdeen Plc (SLA.LN) accounts for about 1.75% of the fund's total assets, followed by Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (HVN.AU) and Csr Limited (CSR.AU).

The top 10 holdings account for about 13.95% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

Year-to-date, the First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index Fund has added about 7.89% so far, and is down about -3.30% over the last 12 months (as of 06/20/2019). FGD has traded between $21.06 and $25.54 in this past 52-week period.

FGD has a beta of 0.80 and standard deviation of 12.79% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a low risk choice in the space. With about 101 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index Fund is not a suitable option for investors seeking to outperform the Broad Developed World ETFs segment of the market. Instead, there are other ETFs in the space which investors should consider.

IShares MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI) tracks MSCI All Country World Index and the Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT) tracks FTSE Global All Cap Index. IShares MSCI ACWI ETF has $10.57 B in assets, Vanguard Total World Stock ETF has $12.42 B. ACWI has an expense ratio of 0.31% and VT charges 0.09%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Broad Developed World ETFs.

Bottom Line

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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First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index Fund (FGD): ETF Research Reports
 
iShares MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI): ETF Research Reports
 
Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT): ETF Research Reports
 
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