Dividend exchange traded funds have encountered some struggles this year as market participants have speculated as to when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates, something the central bank once again passed on doing following the completion of its most recent meeting Wednesday.
According to S&P Dow Jones Indices, S&P 500 average dividend has increased 13.5% so far this year, compared to a 17.3% rise last year.
As economic growth slows and observers downgrade earnings forecasts, company cash payouts, along with stock buybacks, have also lessened. Nevertheless, many dividend stocks and related ETFs are attracting renewed interest as the markets speculate the Federal Reserve will push back on its first interest rate hike in almost a decade. [Low-Yield Environment]
The SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (NYSEArca: SDY) holds firms that have a minimum dividend increase streak of 20 years for inclusion and shows a 2.56% 12-month yield. The ProShares S&P 500 Aristocrats ETF (NYSEArca: NOBL) only includes companies that have increased their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years and offers a 2.03% 12-month yield.
However, some strategists warn that these same dividend aristocrats may find it harder to continue their dividend growth themes, especially in the energy and materials space where companies are under pressure from the plunge in commodity prices. [Energy ETFs to Watch]