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

Sweta Killa
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Designed to provide broad exposure to the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs category of the market, the WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund (DFJ) is a smart beta exchange traded fund launched on 06/16/2006.

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.

A good option for investors who believe in market efficiency, market cap weighted indexes offer a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns.

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.

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 $766.64 M, this makes it one of the larger ETFs in the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs. DFJ is managed by Wisdomtree. This particular fund, before fees and expenses, 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

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.

With on par with most peer products in the space, this ETF has annual operating expenses of 0.58%.

It's 12-month trailing dividend yield comes in at 1.78%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Most ETFs are very transparent products, and disclose their holdings on a daily basis. ETFs also offer diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk, though it's still important for investors to research a fund's holdings.

Taking into account individual holdings, Sankyo Co Ltd accounts for about 0.78% of the fund's total assets, followed by Matsui Securities Co Ltd and Dic Corp.

The top 10 holdings account for about 6.03% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

Year-to-date, the WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund has added about 6.31% so far, and is down about -13.65% over the last 12 months (as of 03/05/2019). DFJ has traded between $60.90 and $82.84 in this past 52-week period.

The ETF has a beta of 0.69 and standard deviation of 13.78% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 815 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 $3.92 B in assets, iShares MSCI Japan ETF has $15.53 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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