It was a tumultuous second quarter for equities as the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY) fell almost 3.2 percent, but dividend ETFs flexed their muscles and provided investors some shelter from macroeconomic headwinds and broader market carnage.
During the quarter, the iShares High Dividend Equity Fund (NYSE: HDV) and the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (NYSE: SDY), two of the most popular dividend ETFs, were able to scratch out positive returns. The Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (NYSE: VIG), the largest dividend ETF by assets, performed in line with the S&P 500.
VIG's unimpressive second-quarter performance aside, these are good days for dividend investors. Dividend increases have far outpaced reductions and suspensions this year to the point where about 80 percent of S&P 500 constituents currently pay dividends.
That's good news considering the income one can depend on from Treasuries and CDs. In other words, barely enough to get fund a trip to Starbuck's (NASDAQ: SBUX) on the city bus. With that in mind, these dividends merit consideration in the second half.
WisdomTree MidCap Dividend Fund (NYSE: DON) Maybe it is because DON tracks mid-caps that it flies under the radar. It certainly is not because of size as the six-year-old DON has over $341 million in assets under management. DON, which charges 0.38 percent per year, currently yields almost 3.1 percent, according to WisdomTree data.
Home to over 350 stocks, DON has a lot to like in that its yield and expenses are reasonable. Plus, the fund has jumped almost five percent year-to-date. The biggest knock on DON is an almost 39 percent allocation to financials. Obviously, this is a mid-cap fund so that does not mean the most controversial bank stocks are featured here, but recent history has taught investors that when one big bank sneezes, it seems like the rest of the sector catches a cold.
EGShares Low Volatility Emerging Markets Dividend ETF (NYSE: HILO) The EGShares Low Volatility Emerging Markets Dividend ETF usually enters the emerging markets dividend ETF conversation, but the fund is showing it might be one of the better international dividend funds, including those that track developed markets.
In the second quarter, HILO outperformed the SPDR S&P International Dividend ETF (NYSE: DWX), which focuses more on developed markets, by more than 200 basis points. DWX may have the higher yield, but HILO's price/earnings and price/book ratios are slightly better.
HILO's heavy allocations to conservative sectors such as telecommunications and utilities along with an almost 17 percent weight to Thailand could be positive catalysts for the fund in the second half.
Global X SuperDividend ETF (NYSE: SDIV) The Global X SuperDividend ETF, which just celebrated its first birthday, give investors some reasons to celebrate. Home to 100 stocks, the ETF is well-balanced as no stock receives a weight in excess of 1.47 percent. SDIV has a jaw-dropping yield of 9.41 percent.
That high yield is driven by the fact that SDIV allocates less than a third of its country weight to the U.S., giving investors an opportunity to exploit the higher yields often offered by global stocks. SDIV's U.S./global mix has worked in investors' favor this year as the Global X offering has outperformed DWX and the iShares Dow Jones International Select Dividend Index Fund (NYSE: IDV) year-to-date.
Another point in SDIV's favor: It pays a monthly dividend.
WisdomTree Emerging Markets Corporate Bond Fund (NASDAQ: EMCB) There should be at least one bond fund on this list and EMCB makes the list for several reasons. First, with almost $60.2 million in AUM, the almost four-month-old ETF, has been one of the better new ETFs of 2012 in terms of attracting assets. Second, EMCB yields five percent. Third, it pays a monthly dividend.
Finally, PIMCO's Bill Gross recently said he likes Brazilian and Mexicand debt. Brazil and Mexico combine for more than 38 percent of EMCB's weight.
Guggenheim Multi-Asset Income ETF (NYSE: CVY) Last week, the Guggenheim Multi-Asset Income ETF cleared resistance at $21 and now looks poised to challenge its 52-week high in the $21.75 area. Do not be deterred by the fact that almost a third of this ETF's weight is devoted to financials. In this case, that means real estate investment trusts (REITs).
Along those lines, CVY is true the multi-asset roots it purports to have. The fund holds common and preferred stocks, ADRs, REITs, MLPs and royalty trusts.
CVY has a trailing 12-month yield of 5.31 percent and the fund has jumped 4.5 percent in the past month. In this environment, the knock on CVY is an almost 18 percent weight to energy stocks. If oil prices continue to struggle, that could suppress CVY's second-half upside.
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