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

Designed to provide broad exposure to the Large Cap Value segment of the US equity market, the First Trust Morningstar Dividend Leaders ETF (FDL) is a passively managed exchange traded fund launched on 03/09/2006.

The fund is sponsored by First Trust Advisors. It has amassed assets over $3.41 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 fall in the large cap category tend to 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.

While value stocks have lower than average price-to-earnings and price-to-book ratios, they also have 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 4.22%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

ETFs offer a diversified exposure and thus minimize single stock risk but it is still important to delve into a fund's holdings before investing. Most ETFs are very transparent products and many disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation to the Energy sector--about 19.70% of the portfolio. Financials and Consumer Staples round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) accounts for about 8.91% of total assets, followed by Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Abbvie Inc. (ABBV).

The top 10 holdings account for about 55.68% 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 gained about 5.05% so far this year and was up about 15.41% in the last one year (as of 09/13/2022). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $32.76 and $39.18.

The ETF has a beta of 0.84 and standard deviation of 24.23% 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 holds a Zacks ETF Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Because of this, FDL is an excellent option for investors seeking exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Value segment of the market. There are other additional ETFs in the space that investors could consider as well.

The iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF (IWD) and the Vanguard Value ETF (VTV) track a similar index. While iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF has $53.66 billion in assets, Vanguard Value ETF has $100.65 billion. IWD has an expense ratio of 0.18% and VTV charges 0.04%.

Bottom-Line

An increasingly popular option among retail and institutional investors, passively managed ETFs offer low costs, transparency, flexibility, and tax efficiency; they 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.


Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
First Trust Morningstar Dividend Leaders ETF (FDL): ETF Research Reports
 
Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) : 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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Zacks Investment Research