When picking out an index-based exchange traded fund, people may find many options with similar investment themes, so it is important to take the time and look deeper into the underlying benchmark.

For example, it is important to look over the underlying index of dividend-paying international stock ETFs as investors have many options available to them, writes Corey Hoffstein for Forbes.

From the bigger issuers, investors can choose from long-standing options like the iShares International Select Dividend ETF (NYSEArca: IDV), PowerShares International Dividend Achievers Portfolio (NYSEArca: PID) and SPDR S&P International Dividend ETF (NYSEArca: DWX). [Global Dividend Hunt With ETFs]

Additionally, relatively newer options include the FlexShares International Quality Dividend Index Fund (NYSEArca: IQDF), Market Vectors MSCI International Quality Dividend ETF (NYSEArca: QDXU) and ProShares MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF (NYSEArca: EFAD).

Don’t let the “international dividend” appellation determine your investment decisions as the various funds can exhibit varying performances. Year-to-date, IDV rose 1.6%, PID gained 2.3%, DWX returned 4.5%, IQDF increased 4.9%, QDXU was up 1.4% and EFAD advanced 7.4%.

To get a better understanding of how these different funds perform, investors should look under the hood. Hoffstein looks for security eligibility and weighting when scrutinizing the underlying ETF benchmarks.

For instance, IDV requires that components be taken from developed countries in Europe, Pacific, Asia and Canada. Securities must also meet dividend payout consistency and growth metrics, along with profitability and minimum liquidity levels. Holdings are then weighted by dividend yield.

PID only includes companies that have continually increased dividends, and holdings are weighted by dividend yields. The combination of listing requirements and dividend growth means that the majority of components are from developed countries, like the U.K. and Canada.

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