The U.S. may be the world’s dominant dividend market, but there are some dividend destinations beyond the confines of U.S. borders worth evaluating.
Fortunately, several of the stronger and steadier ex-U.S. dividend countries can be accessed under the umbrella of a single exchange traded fund such as the $3.2 billion iShares International Select Dividend ETF (NYSEArca: IDV). If it is yield an income investor is after, IDV delivers with a trailing 12-month yield of 4.71%. That looks downright spectacular compared to the S&P 500 and the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (NYSEArca: VIG), the largest U.S. dividend ETF by assets, as neither even yields 2%.
Another advantage of IDV is that U.S. stocks, including favored dividend sectors like consumer staples and utilities, are not inexpensive, but several non-U.S. markets trade at discounts to the stocks in the world’s largest economy. [International Dividend ETF Merits Consideration]
“The valuation differences grow even wider after considering that profit margins are near all-time highs in the U.S. but slumping in Europe and emerging markets, and tend to revert toward average levels over long time periods,” according to Barron’s.
IDV is backed by a combined 35.7% allocation to Australia and the U.K., two of the more compelling developed market dividend destinations outside of the U.S. Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs said Australian stocks look inexpensive and said the country’s high payout, which recently flirted with 70% or nearly double the S&P 500, is sustainable. [Australian Stocks Look Inexpensive]
Goldman previously forecast dividend hikes from Australia’s largest financial services firms while noting the country’s mining sector could surprise with some dividend increases this year. The financials services sector in the U.K. is also expected to be a primary driver of dividend growth there this year. The sector is IDV’s largest at 18.4%. [U.K. ETFs for Dividend Growth]
In terms of being a haven for ultra-conservative income investors seeking even modest global exposure, IDV, which charges 0.5% per year, obliges with a roughly 44% combined allocation to utilities, telecom and consumer staples names.
Plus, the fund’s three-year standard deviation of 17.58% is below that of the S&P Europe 350 Index, a relevant comparison because seven European countries are found among IDV’s top-10 geographic exposures.
iShares International Select Dividend ETF