Utilities exchange traded funds have rewarded investors in significant fashion this, receiving ample adulation in the process.
That praise is well-deserved as utilities are the best-performing sector in the S&P 500 this year. U.S.-focused utilities ETFs, such as the Utilities Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLU), have produced double-digit returns to go along with above-average dividend yields. XLU, the largest utilities and the leader among the nine sector SPDR ETFs, is up 18% year-to-date and hit a new all-time high Thursday. [Utilities ETFs for the Summer Doldrums]
As is the case across most other sectors, U.S. sector funds have global equivalents, though in a year in which utilities ETFs are soaring, the WisdomTree Global ex-US Utilities Fund (NYSEArca: DBU) arguably is not getting the attention it deserves.
Sure, DBU is small in size ($24.8 million in assets under management) compared to some of the more familiar utilities ETFs, but the fund has given investors plenty of reasons to focus on the facts, not superficial metrics such as size.
The facts are DBU is up 16.4% year-to-date and hit a new 52-week high Thursday. DBU’s underlying index, the WisdomTree Global ex-US Utilities Index (WTGXU), has a dividend yield of almost 4.7%, according to WisdomTree data.
That is well in excess of standard U.S. utilities ETFs, underscoring the point that global dividend stocks often sport heftier yields than their U.S. counterparts from the same sector. [An ETF for High Quality Global Dividends]
DBU’s geographic split is nearly even between developed markets (13) and emerging markets (11). Brazil is the ETF’s largest country weight at almost 12% followed by France at 11.4%. Those country allocations, among others, speak to an interesting trait about DBU. While its U.S. rivals are hitting all-time highs, DBU is nowhere close to doing so.