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Is First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend ETF (FDD) a Strong ETF Right Now?

Sweta Killa

The First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend ETF (FDD) was launched on 08/27/2007, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund designed to offer broad exposure to the European Equity ETFs category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

The ETF industry has traditionally been dominated by products based on market capitalization weighted indexes that are designed to represent the market or a particular segment of the market.

Investors who believe in market efficiency should consider market cap indexes, as they replicate market returns in a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way.

But, there are some investors who would rather invest in smart beta funds; these funds track non-cap weighted strategies, and are a strong option for those who prefer choosing great stocks in order to beat the market.

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.

Methodologies like equal-weighting, one of the simplest options out there, fundamental weighting, and volatility/momentum based weighting are all choices offered to investors in this space, but not all of them can deliver superior returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

The fund is sponsored by First Trust Advisors. It has amassed assets over $225.79 M, making it one of the larger ETFs in the European Equity ETFs. Before fees and expenses, FDD seeks to match the performance of the STOXX Europe Select Dividend 30 Index.

The STOXX Europe Select Dividend 30 Index consists of 30 high dividend-yielding securities selected from the STOXX Europe 600 Index.

Cost & Other Expenses

Expense ratios are an important factor in the return of an ETF and in the long-term, cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins, other things remaining the same.

With on par with most peer products in the space, this ETF has annual operating expenses of 0.57%.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 7.06%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

It is important to delve into an ETF's holdings before investing despite the many upsides to these kinds of funds like diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

Taking into account individual holdings, Sse Plc (SSE.LN) accounts for about 7.51% of the fund's total assets, followed by Swiss Prime Site Ag (SPSN.SW) and Intesa Sanpaolo Spa (ISP.IM).

The top 10 holdings account for about 45.44% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has lost about -33.54% and is down about -23.98% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 03/18/2020), respectively. FDD has traded between $8.92 and $14.36 during this last 52-week period.

FDD has a beta of 0.76 and standard deviation of 17.33% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a medium risk choice in the space. With about 31 holdings, it has more concentrated exposure than peers.

Alternatives

First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend ETF is not a suitable option for investors seeking to outperform the European Equity ETFs segment of the market. Instead, there are other ETFs in the space which investors should consider.

IShares MSCI Eurozone ETF (EZU) tracks MSCI EMU Index and the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK) tracks FTSE Developed Europe All Cap Index. IShares MSCI Eurozone ETF has $3.76 B in assets, Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF has $10.58 B. EZU has an expense ratio of 0.49% and VGK charges 0.08%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the European Equity 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 STOXX European Select Dividend ETF (FDD): ETF Research Reports
 
iShares MSCI Eurozone ETF (EZU): ETF Research Reports
 
Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK): ETF Research Reports
 
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