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Is SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY) a Strong ETF Right Now?

A smart beta exchange traded fund, the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY) debuted on 11/08/2005, and offers broad exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Value 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.

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.

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

The fund is managed by State Street Global Advisors, and has been able to amass over $20.75 billion, which makes it one of the largest ETFs in the Style Box - Large Cap Value. SDY, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index.

The S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index measures the performance of the highest dividend yielding S&P Composite 1500 Index constituents that have followed a managed-dividends policy of consistently increasing dividends every year for at least 20 consecutive years.

Cost & Other Expenses

When considering an ETF's total return, expense ratios are an important factor. And, cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins in the long term if all other factors remain equal.

Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.35% for SDY, making it on par with most peer products in the space.

The fund has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 2.85%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure which minimizes single stock risk, it is still important to look into a fund's holdings before investing. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

Representing 17.50% of the portfolio, the fund has heaviest allocation to the Industrials sector; Consumer Staples and Financials round out the top three.

When you look at individual holdings, Franklin Resources Inc. (BEN) accounts for about 1.79% of the fund's total assets, followed by Leggett & Platt Incorporated (LEG) and National Retail Properties Inc. (NNN).

SDY's top 10 holdings account for about 14.78% of its total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has lost about -8.99% so far this year and is down about -0.31% in the last one year (as of 09/29/2022). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $113.10 and $132.34.

The fund has a beta of 0.83 and standard deviation of 24.79% for the trailing three-year period, which makes SDY a medium risk choice in this particular space. With about 122 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

SPDR S&P Dividend ETF is an excellent option for investors seeking to outperform the Style Box - Large Cap Value segment of the market. There are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider as well.

IShares Russell 1000 Value ETF (IWD) tracks Russell 1000 Value Index and the Vanguard Value ETF (VTV) tracks CRSP U.S. Large Cap Value Index. IShares Russell 1000 Value ETF has $48.49 billion in assets, Vanguard Value ETF has $92.02 billion. IWD has an expense ratio of 0.18% and VTV charges 0.04%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Style Box - Large Cap Value.

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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SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY): ETF Research Reports
 
Franklin Resources, Inc. (BEN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Leggett & Platt, Incorporated (LEG): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
National Retail Properties (NNN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Vanguard Value ETF (VTV): ETF Research Reports
 
iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF (IWD): ETF Research Reports
 
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