The latest data from S&P Capital IQ suggests that investors are still taking a defensive stance, evidenced by the particular exchange traded funds they are choosing. The most popular ETFs are dividend-focused, which helps create an income stream and protect against some downside risk.
“Dividend income ETFs tend to have higher exposure to the five defensive sectors than an S&P 500 Index-based ETF such as SPDR S&P 500 Index (NYSEArca: SPY). However, the collective and individual weightings for these sectors are different depending on which ETF you are investing in,” S&P Capital wrote in a note.
During the first quarter of 2013, investors put $6.1 billion into dividend-income ETFs. This is a trend that started in 2012, with $12 billion added to these products, according to the ratings company. The most popular dividend ETFs focus on defensive sectors such as consumer staples, utilities and healthcare, which include companies that pay above-average yields. [High Yield Bonds vs. Dividend ETFs]
The following 5 ETFs have a dividend yield over 2.5%, and are ranked “Overweight” by S&P Capital IQ.
SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (NYSEArca: SDY) has one of the lower yields of the featured funds, at 2.8%. SDY was up 13.1% year-to-date. The sectors represented are consumer staples, healthcare, utilities, financials and industrials, respectively.
Vanguard High Dividend Yield Index Fund (NYSEArca: VYM) has a 3% dividend yield, which beats the broad market. VYM has the worst performance of the five funds, but is still in positive territory, up 11.4% year-to-date. Consumer staples, healthcare and energy are the top sectors represented.
Schwab US Dividend Equity Fund (NYSEArca: SCHD) has a yield of 2.7%, with a 12.2% year-to-date return. Consumer staples, industrials and healthcare have the highest portfolio allocation. [Investors Still Want Dividend ETFs for Yield]