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Is iShares MSCI Intl Multifactor ETF (INTF) a Strong ETF Right Now?

Designed to provide broad exposure to the Broad Developed World ETFs category of the market, the iShares MSCI Intl Multifactor ETF (INTF) is a smart beta exchange traded fund launched on 04/28/2015.

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.

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

The fund is managed by Blackrock, and has been able to amass over $932.17 million, which makes it one of the average sized ETFs in the Broad Developed World ETFs. This particular fund seeks to match the performance of the MSCI World ex USA Diversified Multi-Factor Index before fees and expenses.

The MSCI World ex USA Diversified Multi-Factor Index is designed to select equity securities from MSCI World ex USA Index that have high exposure to four investment style factors: value, quality, momentum and low size, while maintaining a level of risk similar to that of the Parent Index.

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 0.30%.

INTF's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 2.99%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

While ETFs offer diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk, a deep look into a fund's holdings is a valuable exercise. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

When you look at individual holdings, Hitachi Ltd accounts for about 2.62% of the fund's total assets, followed by Daimler Ag (DAI) and Investor Class B (INVE).

Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 21.06% of INTF's total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

So far this year, INTF has added about 12.22%, and is up about 21.26% in the last one year (as of 11/10/2021). During this past 52-week period, the fund has traded between $25.47 and $31.55.

INTF has a beta of 0.86 and standard deviation of 21.03% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a medium risk choice in the space. With about 206 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

IShares MSCI Intl Multifactor ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Broad Developed World ETFs segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.

Vanguard Total International Stock ETF (VXUS) tracks FTSE Global All Cap ex US Index and the Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA) tracks FTSE Developed All Cap ex US Index. Vanguard Total International Stock ETF has $51.93 billion in assets, Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF has $107.19 billion. VXUS has an expense ratio of 0.08% and VEA charges 0.05%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Broad Developed World 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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iShares MSCI Intl Multifactor ETF (INTF): ETF Research Reports
 
Identiv, Inc. (INVE): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA): ETF Research Reports
 
Vanguard Total International Stock ETF (VXUS): ETF Research Reports
 
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