U.S. stocks remain darlings among developed market equities, but the recent under-performance of ex-U.S. developed markets could be giving investors an opportunity to revisit some quality exchange traded funds at favorable prices and valuations.
Due to the volatility-damping abilities and the prominence of the quality factor in many of their lineups, international dividend ETFs are solid ideas for investors looking wade back into global developed markets waters. That list should include the fast-growing FlexShares International Quality Dividend Index Fund (NYSEArca: IQDF).
IQDF is a smart beta fund that focuses on fundamental factors, such as profitability, solid management and reliable cash flow. After all, profitability and free cash flow generation are vital tells regarding a company’s ability to continue paying and raising dividends. [International Dividend ETF on a Torrid Pace]
Speaking of dividends, IQDF’s trailing 12-month yield of 4% is about 50 basis points above that of the MSCI EAFE Index. That is a telling statistic that bolsters the case for IQDF, particularly at a time when EAFE and emerging markets stocks (IQDF has some emerging markets exposure) trade at wide discounts to the S&P 500 while sporting significantly higher dividend yields.
IQDF tries to reflect the performance of the Northern Trust International Quality Dividend Index, which is comprised of developed ex-U.S. and emerging market securities screened to maximize “quality,” target a beta similar to the parent index and improve on the parent index’s dividend yield.
Japan is IQDF’s second-largest country weight with an allocation of 11.9%. Although the world’s third-largest economy has previously sported lower yields than other developed markets and not been a dividend destination on par with the U.S. or U.K., a weaker yen is helping facilitate dividend growth there.