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Is iShares MSCI USA Equal Weighted ETF (EUSA) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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Launched on 05/05/2010, the iShares MSCI USA Equal Weighted ETF (EUSA) is a smart beta exchange traded fund offering broad exposure to the Style Box - All Cap Blend 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.

This kind of index follows this same mindset, as it attempts to pick stocks that have better chances of risk-return performance; non-cap weighted strategies base selection on certain fundamental characteristics, or a mix of such characteristics.

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

Because the fund has amassed over $274.43 M, this makes it one of the average sized ETFs in the Style Box - All Cap Blend. EUSA is managed by Blackrock. This particular fund seeks to match the performance of the MSCI USA Equal Weighted Index before fees and expenses.

The MSCI USA Equal Weighted Index represents the MSCI USA Index, measures the performance of equity securities in the top 85% by market capitalization of equity securities listed on stock exchanges in the United States.

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.

Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.15% for EUSA, making it one of the cheaper products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.71%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure which minimizes single stock risk, it is still important to look into a fund's holdings before investing. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation in the Information Technology sector - about 15.90% of the portfolio. Financials and Industrials round out the top three.

When you look at individual holdings, Total System Services Inc (TSS) accounts for about 0.20% of the fund's total assets, followed by Target Corp (TGT) and Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR).

EUSA's top 10 holdings account for about 1.81% of its total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

Year-to-date, the iShares MSCI USA Equal Weighted ETF return is roughly 17.67% so far, and is up about 3.28% over the last 12 months (as of 06/11/2019). EUSA has traded between $47.02 and $59.92 in this past 52-week period.

The fund has a beta of 1.06 and standard deviation of 12.19% for the trailing three-year period, which makes EUSA a medium risk choice in this particular space. With about 644 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

IShares MSCI USA Equal Weighted ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Style Box - All Cap Blend segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.

IShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF (ITOT) tracks S&P Total Market Index and the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) tracks CRSP US Total Market Index. IShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF has $20.41 B in assets, Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF has $113.86 B. ITOT has an expense ratio of 0.03% and VTI charges 0.03%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Style Box - All Cap Blend.

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.