On an annual basis, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index has not outperformed the S&P 500 since 2012 and developing world equities have lagged their U.S. counterparts in three of the past four years.
Clearly, emerging stocks have disappointed investors and despite rising dividends in the emerging world, emerging markets dividend ETFs have disappointed as well. In 2013, companies based in developing markets accounted for $1 of every $7 in global dividends paid, double the amount those firms contributed in 2009, but that did not give way to out-performance by emerging markets dividend ETFs in 2014. [Emerging Markets Dividends Keep Emerging]
Still, it is hard to ignore the allure of the yields found on ETFs such as the SPDR S&P Emerging Markets Dividend ETF (NYSEArca: EDIV). EDIV sports a trailing 12-month yield of 4.81%, more than double the comparable yield on the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
Like many emerging markets ETFs, EDIV has some advantages and some drawbacks. For example, the ETF allocates over 42% of its combined weight to the financial services and telecom sectors. Those sectors are two of the four with the largest concentrations of state-controlled enterprises in the emeging world. Conversely, energy and materials, the two sectors with large state-run footprints combine for just over 15% of EDIV’s weight. [At Least EM Dividends are Perking Up]
One advantage possessed by EDIV, at least it is advantageous for the moment, is the ETF’s scant 1.7% weight to Russia. Although Russia was once a darling dividend destination for emerging markets investors, dividend growth there this year is expected to be flat due to Western sanctions and plummeting oil prices.
Taiwan, China an Brazil combine for 45.5% of EDIV’s and that is advantageous on multiple fronts. Not only is Taiwan one of the least volatile emerging markets, but it has long had one of the developing world’s most favorable dividend policies. Additionally, state-controlled companies are not prevalent there.