Along with quality and momentum, the value factor is one of the most analyzed and discussed investing factors. At its core, the value factor is supposed to steer investors to companies that are, well, attractively valued.
Just as there are a growing number of exchange traded funds that emphasize the quality factor, several are dedicated to value and some of those funds employ quality metrics. Those quality screens can turn up companies with dependable earnings growth, impressive returns on equity and assets, superior margins and steady, growing dividends. [Value ETFs With Fundamental Screens]
As its name implies, the iShares MSCI USA Value Weighted Index Fund (NYSEArca: VLUE) is a value ETF. VLUE was part of the quartet of ETFs introduced by iShares last year in partnership with the Arizona State Retirement System. The other three include familiar names such as the iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF (NYSEArca: QUAL), iShares MSCI USA Momentum Factor ETF (NYSEArca: MTUM), iShares MSCI USA Size Factor ETF NYSEArca: SIZE).
At the time of its debut, VLUE was seeded with $100 million, but in proof that investors have been embracing value ETFs amid a rocky market environment in 2014, VLUE is now a $431.2 million ETF.
While VLUE is a value play, it is not ultra-conservative in its sector posturing, the result of defensive sectors, such as consumer staples and utilities, often being richly valued relative to their less defensive counterparts. VLUE allocates less than 13% of its combined weight to those sectors. [Vindicated Value ETFs]
However, VLUE does ably tap into the value offered by and the defensive properties of large- and mega-cap stocks, some of which have been somewhat durable during the recent market malaise. Although small-caps have been pounded, they still look pricey, indicating large- and mega-caps could be the places to be for the foreseeable future.