There has been ample talk this year of emerging markets equities and exchange traded funds having the look of value plays.
Investors have bought into that notion, pouring billions of fresh capital into ETFs tracking developing economies since the start of the second quarter as markets from Beijing to Jakarta to Sau Paulo have rallied. As for value, the numbers bear that out as the MSCI Emerging Markets Index sported a forward P/E ratio of 10.5 at the end of the second quarter compared to 14.4 on the MSCI All Country World Index, according to MSCI data.
Regardless of market, developed or developing, there is often an association of value going hand-in-hand with dividends. That might explain why the WisdomTree Emerging Markets Dividend Growth Fund (NasdaqGS: DGRE) has surged 14% this year. Just a few days shy of its first anniversary, DGRE has nearly $33 million in assets under management.
Size is not as important as methodology and it is the latter that gives DGRE credibility as a legitimate up-and-coming emerging markets alternative. DGRE’s underlying index, the WisdomTree Emerging Markets Dividend Growth Index (WTEMDG) ranks companies based on long-term earnings expectations and return on equity and assets, two of the truest signs of a company’s ability to continue raising its payout. From there, DGRE’s constituents are weighted based on annual cash dividends paid. [Emerging Markets Dividend Growth]
DGRE’s underlying index currently sports a dividend yield of nearly 3.5%, according to WisdomTree data. That is significant, particularly for value investors, because the highest-yielding emerging markets stocks trade at a noticeable discount to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index and at major discounts to their U.S. and European peers.
While light on utilities (the sector is just 1.8% of the ETF’s weight), DGRE relies on old yield standbys consumer staples and telecom to drive some of that solid yield. Those sectors combine for 35.1% of the ETF’s weight.