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Is Franklin LibertyQ U.S. Equity ETF (FLQL) a Hot ETF Right Now?

Sweta Killa
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The Franklin LibertyQ U.S. Equity ETF (FLQL) was launched on 04/26/2017, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund designed to offer broad exposure to the Large Cap ETFs category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

Products that are based on market cap weighted indexes, which are strategies designed to reflect a specific market segment or the market as a whole, have traditionally dominated the ETF industry.

Market cap weighted indexes work great for investors who believe in market efficiency. They provide a low-cost, convenient and transparent way of replicating market returns.

There are some investors, though, who think it's possible to beat the market with great stock selection; this group likely invests in another class of funds known as smart beta, which track non-cap weighted strategies.

These indexes attempt to select stocks that have better chances of risk-return performance, based on certain fundamental characteristics or a combination of such characteristics.

Even though this space provides many choices to investors--think one of the simplest methodologies like equal-weighting and more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting--not all have been able to deliver first-rate results.

Fund Sponsor & Index

The fund is managed by Franklin Templeton Investments. FLQL has been able to amass assets over $408.37 M, making it one of the average sized ETFs in the Large Cap ETFs. Before fees and expenses, FLQL seeks to match the performance of the LibertyQ US Large Cap Equity Index.

The U.S. Large Cap Underlying Index seeks to achieve a lower level of risk and higher risk-adjusted performance than the Russell 1000 Index over the long term by applying a multi-factor selection process, which is designed to select equity securities from the Russell 1000 Index that have favorable exposure to four investment style factors quality, value, momentum and low volatility.

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 0.25%.

The fund has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.66%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Most ETFs are very transparent products, and disclose their holdings on a daily basis. ETFs also offer diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk, though it's still important for investors to research a fund's holdings.

Representing 20.20% of the portfolio, the fund has heaviest allocation to the Information Technology sector; Consumer Discretionary and Consumer Staples round out the top three.

Taking into account individual holdings, Eli Lilly + Co (LLY) accounts for about 1.27% of the fund's total assets, followed by At+t Inc (T) and Pfizer Inc (PFE).

The top 10 holdings account for about 11.86% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

So far this year, FLQL return is roughly 1.33%, and is up about 7.85% in the last one year (as of 10/30/2018). During this past 52-week period, the fund has traded between $27.33 and $31.54.

FLQL has a beta of 0.76 and standard deviation of 10.02% for the trailing three-year period. With about 250 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

Franklin LibertyQ U.S. Equity ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Large Cap ETFs segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.

IShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV) tracks S&P 500 Index and the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) tracks S&P 500 Index. IShares Core S&P 500 ETF has $153.70 B in assets, SPDR S&P 500 ETF has $250.57 B. IVV has an expense ratio of 0.04% and SPY 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 Large Cap 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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FL-LBTY US EQ (FLQL): ETF Research Reports
 
Pfizer Inc. (PFE) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Eli Lilly and Company (LLY) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AT&T Inc. (T) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ISHARS-SP500 (IVV): ETF Research Reports
 
SPDR-SP 500 TR (SPY): ETF Research Reports
 
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