Ten-year Treasury yields have fallen more than 10% this year, but that does not mean every dividend ETF on the market offers a superior yield.
For example, the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (NYSEArca: VIG), the largest U.S. dividend ETF by assets, has a trailing 12-month yield of just 1.9%, or just four basis points above the yield on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY). Including dividends paid, SPY has nearly tripled the returns offered by VIG this year. [Revisiting a Familiar Dividend ETF]
There are several dividend ETFs where a healthy number of the funds’ constituents feature better yields than what 10-year Treasuries offer. The $817.4 million WisdomTree Equity Income Fund (NYSEArca: DHS) is one example. Eighty-eight percent of the almost 390 holdings found in DHS yield more than 10-year Treasuries, according to WisdomTree data.
As highlighted by the leadership of the utilities sector and resurgent real estate investment trusts, declining U.S. bond yields have benefited some high-yielding asset classes in 2014. [High-Yield Utilities Lead the Way]
DHS tracks “the WisdomTree Equity Income Index, which selects securities for inclusion based on dividend yield, has close to 90% of its weight in securities with a yield advantage over Treasuries. These higher-yielding securities, which underperformed last year as rates rose, have started to show relative strength against the broad market as rates have pulled back year-to-date,” said WisdomTree research analyst Tripp Zimmerman in a note out Monday.
DHS features a roughly 20% combined weight to utilities and telecom stocks, so the ETF does have some element of interest rate sensitivity to it. However, that exposure is countered by a 32% combined weight to financials and health care names, the former of which is seen as a beneficiary of rising rates.
Additionally, DHS allocates 11% of its weight to the technology, one of the leading sources of S&P 500 dividend growth in recent years and one of the top-performing sectors in rising rate environments. [Capturing Dividend Growth With ETFs]