The allure of the volatility reduction via exchange traded funds has been confirmed in recent years by the success of funds such as the PowerShares S&P 500 Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSEArca: SPLV) and the iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility ETF (NYSEArca: USMV).
A combined $7.4 billion in assets under management for those ETFs attests to their success, but equally worth noting is the efficacy of apply reduced volatility to international ETFs. With some global markets trading at compelling valuation discounts to the U.S., the time could be right for investors to revisit international low volatility ETFs, including the $263.1 million PowerShares S&P International Developed Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSEArca: IDLV).
IDLV has remained somewhat sturdy compared to Europe-focused ETFs because the PowerShares offering’s weight to Eurozone economies is relatively light. The ETF allocates a combined 11.2% of its weight to Germany, France and the Spain. Throw in the U.K., Sweden and Switzerland, and IDLV’s total Europe exposure is just over 26%. [International Low Vol ETF Stands Tall]
Since the start of the current quarter, IDLV is off 3%, but that beat the 5.5% loss for the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (NYSEArca: VGK) and the almost 5% shed by the iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (NYSEArca: EFA).
Although IDLV does not feature Japan exposure, the ETF does devote a combined 16% of its weight to AAA-rated Singapore and Hong Kong and the fund makes for a fine alternative to traditional EAFE index offerings. [Rush to Hong Kong ETFs]
“Valuation appears attractive. The MSCI EAFE Index is trading at a discount price/earnings ratio of about 1.25 versus the S&P 500 Index, and it has a dividend yield of 3.35% —more than triple the yield on a German one-year note,” according to the Invesco blog. Invesco (NYSE: IVZ) is the parent company of PowerShares.
Regarding dividend yield, IDLV is something of unheralded income play with a trailing 12-month yield of 3.06%, according to PowerShares data.