The First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend Index Fund (FDD) made its debut on 08/27/2007, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund that provides broad exposure to the European Equity ETFs category of the market.
What Are Smart Beta ETFs?
For a long time now, the ETF industry has been flooded with products based on market capitalization weighted indexes, which are designed to represent the broader market or a particular market segment.
Investors who believe in market efficiency should consider market cap indexes, as they replicate market returns in a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way.
If you're the kind of investor who would rather try and beat the market through good stock selection, then smart beta funds are your best choice; this fund class is known for tracking non-cap weighted strategies.
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.
While this space offers a number of choices to investors, including simplest equal-weighting, fundamental weighting and volatility/momentum based weighting methodologies, not all these strategies have been able to deliver superior results.
Fund Sponsor & Index
FDD is managed by First Trust Advisors, and this fund has amassed over $329.31 M, which makes it one of the larger ETFs in the European Equity ETFs. FDD seeks to match the performance of the STOXX Europe Select Dividend 30 Index before fees and expenses.
The STOXX Europe Select Dividend 30 Index consists of 30 high dividend-yielding securities selected from the STOXX Europe 600 Index.
Cost & Other Expenses
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.
Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.57% for this ETF, which makes it on par with most peer products in the space.
It's 12-month trailing dividend yield comes in at 4.65%.
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.
Taking into account individual holdings, Sse Plc (SSE.LN) accounts for about 5.15% of the fund's total assets, followed by Intesa Sanpaolo Spa (ISP.IM) and Societe Generale S.a. (GLE.FP).
FDD's top 10 holdings account for about 42.31% of its total assets under management.
Performance and Risk
Year-to-date, the First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend Index Fund has added about 10.40% so far, and is down about -3.65% over the last 12 months (as of 05/03/2019). FDD has traded between $11.69 and $14.44 in this past 52-week period.
The fund has a beta of 0.72 and standard deviation of 13.82% for the trailing three-year period, which makes FDD a medium risk choice in this particular space. With about 31 holdings, it has more concentrated exposure than peers.
First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend Index Fund 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 $7.02 B in assets, Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF has $13.77 B. EZU has an expense ratio of 0.47% and VGK 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 European Equity ETFs.
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 Index Fund (FDD): ETF Research Reports
Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK): ETF Research Reports
iShares MSCI Eurozone ETF (EZU): ETF Research Reports
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