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Should First Trust Morningstar Dividend Leaders ETF (FDL) Be on Your Investing Radar?

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If you're interested in broad exposure to the Large Cap Value segment of the US equity market, look no further than the First Trust Morningstar Dividend Leaders ETF (FDL), a passively managed exchange traded fund launched on 03/09/2006.

The fund is sponsored by First Trust Advisors. It has amassed assets over $2.43 billion, making it one of the average sized ETFs attempting to match the Large Cap Value segment of the US equity market.

Why Large Cap Value

Companies that find themselves in the large cap category typically have a market capitalization above $10 billion. They tend to be stable companies with predictable cash flows and are usually less volatile than mid and small cap companies.

Value stocks are known for their lower than average price-to-earnings and price-to-book ratios, but investors should also note their lower than average sales and earnings growth rates. Considering long-term performance, value stocks have outperformed growth stocks in almost all markets; however, they are more likely to underperform growth stocks in strong bull markets.

Costs

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 0.45%, putting it on par with most peer products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 4.55%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure that minimizes single stock risk, investors should also look at the actual holdings inside the fund. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation to the Healthcare sector--about 21.60% of the portfolio. Consumer Staples and Telecom round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, At&t Inc. (T) accounts for about 9.26% of total assets, followed by Abbvie Inc. (ABBV) and Chevron Corporation (CVX).

The top 10 holdings account for about 58.89% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

FDL seeks to match the performance of the Morningstar Dividend Leaders Index before fees and expenses. The Morningstar Dividend Leaders Index consists of stocks listed on one of the three major exchanges, NYSE, NYSE Amex or Nasdaq, that have shown dividend consistency and dividend sustainability.

The ETF has added about 3.86% so far this year and was up about 9.60% in the last one year (as of 05/11/2022). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $32.62 and $38.84.

The ETF has a beta of 0.86 and standard deviation of 23.95% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 101 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

First Trust Morningstar Dividend Leaders 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, FDL is a good option for those seeking exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Value area of the market. Investors might also want to consider some other ETF options in the space.

The iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF (IWD) and the Vanguard Value ETF (VTV) track a similar index. While iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF has $52.45 billion in assets, Vanguard Value ETF has $96.34 billion. IWD has an expense ratio of 0.19% and VTV charges 0.04%.

Bottom-Line

Passively managed ETFs are becoming increasingly popular with institutional as well as retail investors due to their low cost, transparency, flexibility and tax efficiency. They are 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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First Trust Morningstar Dividend Leaders ETF (FDL): ETF Research Reports
 
AT&T Inc. (T) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Chevron Corporation (CVX) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AbbVie Inc. (ABBV) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Vanguard Value ETF (VTV): ETF Research Reports
 
iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF (IWD): ETF Research Reports
 
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