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Is SPDR S&P Emerging Markets Dividend ETF (EDIV) a Strong ETF Right Now?

Zacks Equity Research

Making its debut on 02/23/2011, smart beta exchange traded fund SPDR S&P Emerging Markets Dividend ETF (EDIV) provides investors broad exposure to the Broad Emerging Market ETFs category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

The ETF industry has traditionally been dominated by products based on market capitalization weighted indexes that are designed to represent the market or a particular segment of the market.

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.

But, there are some investors who would rather invest in smart beta funds; these funds track non-cap weighted strategies, and are a strong option for those who prefer choosing great stocks in order to beat the market.

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 State Street Global Advisors, and has been able to amass over $432.51 M, which makes it one of the larger ETFs in the Broad Emerging Market ETFs. Before fees and expenses, this particular fund seeks to match the performance of the S&P Emerging Markets Dividend Opportunities Index.

This Index generally includes 100 tradable, exchange-listed common stocks from emerging market countries that offer high dividend yields. Additionally, stocks must have positive 3-year earnings growth and profitability. Stocks are weighted by annual dividend yield. To ensure diverse exposure, no single country or sector has more than a 25% weight and no single stock has more than a 3% weight.

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 0.49% for this ETF, which makes it on par with most peer products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 3.52%.

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.

Looking at individual holdings, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. Sponsored Adr (TSM) accounts for about 3.22% of total assets, followed by China Resources Land Limited (1109-HK) and China Mobile Limited (941-HK).

Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 28.81% of EDIV's total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has gained about 7.71% and is up roughly 8.58% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 09/16/2019), respectively. EDIV has traded between $27.94 and $33.14 during this last 52-week period.

The fund has a beta of 0.79 and standard deviation of 16.61% for the trailing three-year period, which makes EDIV a medium risk choice in this particular space. With about 132 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

SPDR S&P Emerging Markets Dividend ETF is not a suitable option for investors seeking to outperform the Broad Emerging Market ETFs segment of the market. Instead, there are other ETFs in the space which investors should consider.

IShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG) tracks MSCI Emerging Markets Investable Market Index and the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) tracks FTSE Emerging Markets All Cap China A Inclusion Index. IShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF has $55.62 B in assets, Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF has $63.45 B. IEMG has an expense ratio of 0.14% and VWO charges 0.12%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Broad Emerging Market 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.