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Is iShares Edge MSCI Multifactor Intl ETF (INTF) a Strong ETF Right Now?

Zacks Equity Research
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Making its debut on 04/28/2015, smart beta exchange traded fund iShares Edge MSCI Multifactor Intl ETF (INTF) provides investors broad exposure to the Broad Developed World ETFs category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

Market cap weighted indexes were created to reflect the market, or a specific segment of the market, and the ETF industry has traditionally been dominated by products based on this strategy.

Market cap weighted indexes offer a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, and are a good option for investors who believe in market efficiency.

However, some investors believe in the possibility of beating the market through exceptional stock selection, and choose a different type of fund that tracks non-cap weighted strategies: smart beta.

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

The fund is managed by Blackrock. INTF has been able to amass assets over $1.15 B, making it one of the larger ETFs in the Broad Developed World ETFs. Before fees and expenses, this particular fund seeks to match the performance of the MSCI World ex USA Diversified Multi-Factor Index.

The MSCI World ex USA Diversified Multi-Factor Index is designed to select equity securities from MSCI World ex USA Index that have high exposure to four investment style factors: value, quality, momentum and low size, while maintaining a level of risk similar to that of the Parent Index.

Cost & Other Expenses

Cost is an important factor in selecting the right ETF, and cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins if all other fundamentals are the same.

With one of the cheaper products in the space, this ETF has annual operating expenses of 0.30%.

It's 12-month trailing dividend yield comes in at 2.39%.

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.

When you look at individual holdings, Amadeus It Group Sa (AMS) accounts for about 2.15% of the fund's total assets, followed by Axa Sa (CS) and Hitachi Ltd.

Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 18.47% of INTF's total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF return is roughly 9.95% so far this year and is down about -6.64% in the last one year (as of 03/25/2019). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $22.95 and $29.91.

The ETF has a beta of 0.91 and standard deviation of 13.64% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 228 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

IShares Edge MSCI Multifactor Intl ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Broad Developed World ETFs segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.

Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU) tracks FTSE All-World ex US Index and the Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA) tracks FTSE Developed All Cap ex US Index. Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF has $22.74 B in assets, Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF has $69.96 B. VEU has an expense ratio of 0.09% and VEA charges 0.07%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Broad Developed World 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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iShares Edge MSCI Multifactor Intl ETF (INTF): ETF Research Reports
 
Credit Suisse Group (CS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA): ETF Research Reports
 
Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU): ETF Research Reports
 
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