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

Zacks Equity Research

Making its debut on 06/16/2006, smart beta exchange traded fund WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund (DFJ) provides investors broad exposure to the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

The ETF industry has long been dominated by products based on market cap weighted indexes, a strategy created to reflect the market or a particular market segment.

Because market cap weighted indexes provide a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, they work well for investors who believe in market efficiency.

If you're the kind of investor who would rather try and beat the market through good stock selection, then smart beta funds are your best choice; this fund class is known for tracking 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.

Methodologies like equal-weighting, one of the simplest options out there, fundamental weighting, and volatility/momentum based weighting are all choices offered to investors in this space, but not all of them can deliver superior returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

DFJ is managed by Wisdomtree, and this fund has amassed over $459.49 M, which makes it one of the average sized ETFs in the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs. DFJ 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

Investors should also pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio. Lower cost products will produce better results than those with a higher cost, assuming all other metrics remain the same.

Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.58% for DFJ, making it one of the more expensive products in the space.

The fund has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.95%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

It is important to delve into an ETF's holdings before investing despite the many upsides to these kinds of funds like diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

When you look at individual holdings, Haseko Corp accounts for about 1.28% of the fund's total assets, followed by Aozora Bank Ltd and Matsui Securities Co Ltd.

DFJ's top 10 holdings account for about 7.47% of its total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has added roughly 15.49% so far this year and it's up approximately 5.54% in the last one year (as of 11/06/2019). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $60.90 and $73.51.

DFJ has a beta of 0.69 and standard deviation of 13.50% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a medium risk choice in the space. With about 820 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund is an excellent option for investors seeking to outperform the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs segment of the market. There are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider as well.

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 $4.46 B in assets, iShares MSCI Japan ETF has $13.28 B. BBJP has an expense ratio of 0.19% and EWJ charges 0.47%.

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 Fund (DFJ): ETF Research Reports
 
iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ): ETF Research Reports
 
JPMorgan BetaBuilders Japan ETF (BBJP): ETF Research Reports
 
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