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The WisdomTree U.S. SmallCap Dividend ETF (DES) made its debut on 06/16/2006, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund that provides broad exposure to the Style Box – Small Cap Value category of the market.
What Are Smart Beta ETFs?
Products that are based on market cap weighted indexes, which are strategies designed to reflect a specific market segment or the market as a whole, have traditionally dominated the ETF industry.
Market cap weighted indexes work great for investors who believe in market efficiency. They provide a low-cost, convenient and transparent way of replicating market returns.
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.
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.
Even though this space provides many choices to investors–think one of the simplest methodologies like equal-weighting and more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting–not all have been able to deliver first-rate results.
Fund Sponsor & Index
The fund is managed by Wisdomtree, and has been able to amass over $1.92 billion, which makes it one of the larger ETFs in the Style Box – Small Cap Value. Before fees and expenses, this particular fund seeks to match the performance of the WisdomTree U.S. SmallCap Dividend Index.
The WisdomTree U.S. SmallCap Dividend Index is a fundamentally weighted index measuring the performance of the small-capitalization segment of the US dividend-paying market.
Cost & Other Expenses
Investors should also pay attention to an ETF’s expense ratio. Lower cost products will produce better results than those with a higher cost, assuming all other metrics remain the same.
Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.38% for this ETF, which makes it on par with most peer products in the space.
It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 2.10%.
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.
This ETF has heaviest allocation in the Financials sector – about 27.10% of the portfolio. Industrials and Consumer Discretionary round out the top three.
When you look at individual holdings, Vector Group Ltd (VGR) accounts for about 1.66% of the fund’s total assets, followed by B&g Foods Inc (BGS) and Compass Minerals International (CMP).
The top 10 holdings account for about 12.06% of total assets under management.
Performance and Risk
Year-to-date, the WisdomTree U.S. SmallCap Dividend ETF return is roughly 27.20% so far, and was up about 36.07% over the last 12 months (as of 11/22/2021). DES has traded between $24.86 and $33.79 in this past 52-week period.
The fund has a beta of 1.18 and standard deviation of 29.55% for the trailing three-year period, which makes DES a medium risk choice in this particular space. With about 569 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.
WisdomTree U.S. SmallCap Dividend ETF is an excellent option for investors seeking to outperform the Style Box – Small Cap Value segment of the market. There are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider as well.
IShares Russell 2000 Value ETF (IWN) tracks Russell 2000 Value Index and the Vanguard SmallCap Value ETF (VBR) tracks CRSP U.S. Small Cap Value Index. IShares Russell 2000 Value ETF has $16.25 billion in assets, Vanguard SmallCap Value ETF has $26.61 billion. IWN has an expense ratio of 0.24% and VBR charges 0.07%.
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 – Small Cap Value.
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 U.S. SmallCap Dividend ETF (DES): ETF Research Reports
B&G Foods, Inc. (BGS): Free Stock Analysis Report
Compass Minerals International, Inc. (CMP): Free Stock Analysis Report
Vector Group Ltd. (VGR): Free Stock Analysis Report
Vanguard SmallCap Value ETF (VBR): ETF Research Reports
iShares Russell 2000 Value ETF (IWN): ETF Research Reports
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Zacks Investment Research