ETFs for Japanese Dividend Growth

Among developed markets, Japan is not a dividend destination on par with the U.S., U.K. or Australia, but the that does not mean the world’s third-largest economy is bereft of dividend growth potential.

Actually, Japan offers plenty of opportunities for dividend growth. While this theme can be played with broader Japan ETFs, such as the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DXJ) and the db X-trackers MSCI Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DBJP), investors may want to consider more tactical sector offerings as well.

“The Dividend Stream has reached a new high of ¥7.86 trillion, an increase of 14.6% from the 2008 high. In dollar terms, the Dividend Stream also reached a new high of $77.2 billion, an increase of 4.5% from the 2012 high,” said WisdomTree Research Director Jeremy Schwartz in a recent note. “The most recent annual dividend growth was led by larger companies such as Toyota that are typically more export focused and benefited from a weaker yen. Even though the total dollar value of dividend growth was up significantly more than the median or typical stock’s dividend growth, growth was still broad based, with increases across eight out of 10 sectors.”

Helped by the weaker yen, which has benefited exporters like Toyota (NYSE: TM), Japan’s consumer discretionary sector saw dividend growth of nearly 52% within the WisdomTree dividend stream, according to issuer data.

“The sector displayed the highest percentage increase and became the largest cash dividend-paying sector at more than ¥1.8 trillion, representing approximately 23% of the total Dividend Stream. The growth was led by large cash increases among exporters such as Toyota Motor Corp., Panasonic and Bridgestone,” according to Schwartz.

Investors can grab exposure to some Japanese discretionary names via the media industry with the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Tech, Media & Telecom Fund (NYSEArca: DXJT).