The WisdomTree Middle East Dividend Fund (NasdaqGM: GULF) merits consideration in the conversation about emerging markets dividends and accessing those dividends via exchange traded funds.
A 4.25% dividend yield for the WisdomTree Middle East Dividend Index (WTEMME), GULF’s underlying index, and a 5.66% 30-day SEC yield for the ETF itself prove as much. Those are arguably gaudy numbers to be sure, but more important are the factors driving GULF’s dividend growth and rising payouts in Middle East emerging and frontier markets.
“While WisdomTree doesn’t have an Index purely focused on frontier markets, Middle East Dividends has been generating truly differentiated performance compared with emerging markets. Its biggest divergence from other broad-based, frontier market exposures is the exclusion of Nigeria,” according to recent research by WisdomTree’s Jeremy Schwartz, CFA, Director of Research, Christopher Gannatti, CFA, Associate Director of Research, Tripp Zimmerman, CFA, Research Analyst & Eswarie Subrahmanyam S. Balan, Research Analyst.
Comparisons have been drawn between GULF and the iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF (NYSEArca: FM), primarily because prior to MSCI’s promotion of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to emerging markets status, the two ETFs featured some of the largest allocations to those nations. However, GULF is not a dedicated frontier or emerging markets fund. [Investors Flocking to ETFs With Qatar, UAE Exposure]
Due to its focus on the Middle East and the fact that is not obligated to follow market classification changes, GULF does not include Nigerian and that is not a bad thing at a time when oil prices are tumbling. [Oil Drags Nigeria ETF Into Bear Market]
As of Nov. 14, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait combined for nearly 79% of GULF’s weight. From GULF’s May 2013 rebalance to its most recent rebalance at the end of the third quarter, the ETF’s exposure to Kuwait and the industrial sector rose.