A Dividend ETF’s Quiet Ascent

Dividend stocks are playing a pivotal role in driving U.S. equities to an ongoing set of record highs, a fact confirmed by nine dividend exchange traded funds rising to fresh all-time highs last Friday.

One of those nine was the PowerShares Dividend Achievers Portfolio (NYSEArca: PFM). The nearly $362 million PFM will soon celebrate its ninth anniversary, so it is neither small nor a new kid on the dividend ETF block. However, the ETF has quietly gained a solid 8% this year on its way to the aforementioned record high, at which it closed last Friday. [Spotlight on Dividend Growth]

Like some of its rivals, PFM emphasizes dividend consistency and growth. That objective is accomplished by following the NASDAQ US Broad Dividend Achievers Index, which also mandates a minimum dividend increase streak of 10 years for inclusion.

Dividends are a sign of well-run companies and “shares of dividend-paying companies possess built-in value that makes them generally more resilient in down markets, with solid appreciation potential during earnings-driven market upturns with less price volatility,” according to NASDAQ OMX Global Indexes.

With an almost 23% weight to the consumer staples sector, the ETF’s largest sector allocation, PFM offers income investors the consistency they crave with exposure to stocks with some of the longest-running dividend increase streaks in the U.S., including Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) and PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP). [A Dividend ETF That Keeps Rising]

PFM also offers a decent 11.5% weight to the technology sector, one of the largest contributors to S&P 500 dividend growth in recent years. PFM also merits consideration as a dividend ETF to own if and when interest rates rise because the industrial, technology an consumer discretionary sectors combine for a third of the ETF’s weight. Historically, those are the three best-performing sectors when rates rise.