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

Sweta Killa
U.S. retail sales handily beat market expectations in June. Some particular industries have shone promises, putting these ETFs and stocks in focus.

The WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund (DFJ) made its debut on 06/16/2006, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund that provides 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.

Investors who believe in market efficiency should consider market cap indexes, as they replicate market returns in a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way.

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.

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.

The smart beta space gives investors many different choices, from equal-weighting, one of the simplest strategies, to more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting. However, not all of these methodologies have been able to deliver remarkable returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

Managed by Wisdomtree, DFJ has amassed assets over $539.16 M, making it one of the average sized ETFs in the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs. Before fees and expenses, DFJ seeks to match the performance of the WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Index.

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

For ETF investors, expense ratios are an important factor when considering a fund's return; in the long-term, cheaper funds actually have the ability to outperform their more expensive cousins if all other things remain the same.

Annual operating expenses for DFJ are 0.58%, which makes it one of the more expensive products in the space.

It's 12-month trailing dividend yield comes in at 1.89%.

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, Sankyo Co Ltd accounts for about 0.90% of the fund's total assets, followed by Matsui Securities Co Ltd and Mitsubishi Materials Corp.

DFJ's top 10 holdings account for about 6.02% of its total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF return is roughly 0.28% and is down about -17.88% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 06/03/2019), respectively. DFJ has traded between $60.90 and $82.03 during this last 52-week period.

DFJ has a beta of 0.68 and standard deviation of 13.56% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a medium risk choice in the space. With about 809 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 $3.55 B in assets, iShares MSCI Japan ETF has $12.61 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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