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

Launched on 04/28/2015, the iShares MSCI Intl Multifactor ETF (INTF) is a smart beta exchange traded fund offering broad exposure to the Broad Developed World ETFs 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.

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.

Non-cap weighted indexes try to choose stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance, which is based on specific fundamental characteristics, or a mix of other 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 Blackrock, INTF has amassed assets over $906.22 million, making it one of the larger ETFs in the Broad Developed World ETFs. INTF, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the MSCI World ex USA Diversified Multi-Factor Index.

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

Expense ratios are an important factor in the return of an ETF and in the long-term, cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins, other things remaining the same.

Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.30% for this ETF, which makes it on par with most peer products in the space.

The fund has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 2.95%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure that minimizes single stock risk, investors should also look at the actual holdings inside the fund. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

Taking into account 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).

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

Performance and Risk

Year-to-date, the iShares MSCI Intl Multifactor ETF has gained about 13.46% so far, and is up about 28.31% over the last 12 months (as of 08/05/2021). INTF has traded between $23.31 and $31.55 in this past 52-week period.

The ETF has a beta of 0.88 and standard deviation of 21.23% for the trailing three-year period, making it 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 $48.20 billion in assets, Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF has $102.57 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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