Two of the more prominent themes in the world of exchange traded this year have been the ongoing success of dividend funds and the extension of last year’s success for currency hedged ETFs.
Imagine the possibilities when those two themes meet under the umbrella of a single ETF as they do in the newly minted WisdomTree International Hedged Dividend Growth Fund (NYSEArca: IHDG). IHDG, which carries an annual expense ratio of 0.58%, tracks the WisdomTree International Hedged Dividend Growth Index (WTIDGH).
“The Index is comprised of the top 300 companies from the WisdomTree DEFA Index with the best combined rank of growth and quality factors. The growth factor ranking is based on long-term earnings growth expectations, while the quality factor ranking is based on three year historical averages for return on equity and return on assets. Companies are weighted in the Index based on annual cash dividends paid,” according to WisdomTree.
In other words, IHDG can be looked as a dividend focused, currency hedged competitor to the scores of funds that benchmark to the MSCI EAFE Index. Thing is, IHDG is down just 0.3% since coming to market in early May, but the iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (NYSEArca: EFA) is off 5.6% over the same period.
That is not surprising when considering the tendency of dividend stocks to outperform their non-dividend paying counterparts. Over time, dividend growers handsomely outperform those stocks that o not boost or deliver payouts.
Importantly, it has been documented that by removing currency risk from the equation, investors are subjected to a less volatile experience with foreign stocks and ETFs. With the dollar currently strong against the Australian dollar, Japanese yen and euro, investors could experience unnecessary currency and added volatility by considering ETFs that are not currency hedged. [Time has Arrived for Currency Hedged ETFs]