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Should Invesco Defensive Equity ETF (DEF) Be on Your Investing Radar?

Sweta Killa

Looking for broad exposure to the Large Cap Growth segment of the US equity market? You should consider the Invesco Defensive Equity ETF (DEF), a passively managed exchange traded fund launched on 12/15/2006.

The fund is sponsored by Invesco. It has amassed assets over $273.32 M, making it one of the average sized ETFs attempting to match the Large Cap Growth segment of the US equity market.

Why Large Cap Growth

Companies that find themselves in the large cap category typically have a market capitalization above $10 billion. Considered a more stable option, large cap companies boast more predictable cash flows and are less volatile than their mid and small cap counterparts.

Growth stocks have higher than average sales and earnings growth rates. While these are expected to grow faster than the broader market, they also have higher valuations. Also, growth stocks are a type of equity that carries more risk compared to others. Compared to value stocks, growth stocks are a safer bet in a strong bull market, but don't perform as strongly in almost all other financial environments.


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 counterparts, other things remaining the same.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.59%, making it one of the more expensive products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.10%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

While ETFs offer diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk, a deep look into a fund's holdings is a valuable exercise. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation to the Financials sector--about 17.80% of the portfolio. Information Technology and Industrials round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Allegion Plc (ALLE) accounts for about 1.17% of total assets, followed by Citrix Systems Inc (CTXS) and Garmin Ltd (GRMN).

The top 10 holdings account for about 11.18% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

DEF seeks to match the performance of the Guggenheim Defensive Equity Index before fees and expenses. The Guggenheim Defensive Equity Index is comprised of approximately 100 stocks selected from the S&P 500 Index based on investment and other screening criteria. The companies selected have potentially superior risk-return profiles during periods of stock market weakness while still offering the potential for gains during periods of market strength.

The ETF has added roughly 26.66% so far this year and was up about 18.75% in the last one year (as of 11/28/2019). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $41.71 and $55.78.

The ETF has a beta of 0.75 and standard deviation of 11.15% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 100 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


Invesco Defensive Equity 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, DEF is a reasonable option for those seeking exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Growth area of the market. Investors might also want to consider some other ETF options in the space.

The iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (IWF) and the Invesco QQQ (QQQ) track a similar index. While iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF has $48.27 B in assets, Invesco QQQ has $82.14 B. IWF has an expense ratio of 0.19% and QQQ charges 0.20%.


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.

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Invesco Defensive Equity ETF (DEF): ETF Research Reports
Citrix Systems, Inc. (CTXS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) : Free Stock Analysis Report
iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (IWF): ETF Research Reports
Invesco QQQ (QQQ): ETF Research Reports
Allegion PLC (ALLE) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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