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Is WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend ETF (DFJ) a Strong ETF Right Now?

Zacks Equity Research
·4 min read

Launched on 06/16/2006, the WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend ETF (DFJ) is a smart beta exchange traded fund offering broad exposure to the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

For a long time now, the ETF industry has been flooded with products based on market capitalization weighted indexes, which are designed to represent the broader market or a particular market segment.

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.

On the other hand, some investors who believe that it is possible to beat the market by superior stock selection opt to invest in another class of funds that track non-cap weighted strategies--popularly known as 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

Because the fund has amassed over $266.66 M, this makes it one of the average sized ETFs in the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs. DFJ is managed by Wisdomtree. This particular fund seeks to match the performance of the WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Index before fees and expenses.

WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Index measures the performance of dividend-paying small capitalization companies in Japan. After the 300 largest companies have been removed from the WisdomTree Japan Dividend Index, the remaining companies are chosen for inclusion in the Index. Companies are weighted in the Index based on annual cash dividends paid.

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 0.58% for this ETF, which makes it one of the more expensive products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 2.59%.

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.

Looking at individual holdings, Haseko Corp accounts for about 1.36% of total assets, followed by Aozora Bank Ltd and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co Inc.

Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 7.92% of DFJ's total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has lost about -13.71% so far this year and is down about -5.53% in the last one year (as of 02/26/2020). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $62.54 and $75.84.

DFJ has a beta of 0.74 and standard deviation of 13.86% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a medium risk choice in the space. With about 818 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.

JPMorgan BetaBuilders Japan ETF (BBJP) tracks MORNINGSTAR JAPAN TRGT MRKT EXPOSURE ID and the iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ) tracks MSCI Japan Index. JPMorgan BetaBuilders Japan ETF has $3.01 B in assets, iShares MSCI Japan ETF has $11.55 B. BBJP has an expense ratio of 0.19% and EWJ charges 0.49%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Asia-Pacific (Developed) 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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WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend ETF (DFJ): ETF Research Reports
 
iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ): ETF Research Reports
 
JPMorgan BetaBuilders Japan ETF (BBJP): ETF Research Reports
 
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Zacks Investment Research