ETF Trends
ETF Trends

Amid fears that the Federal Reserve will soon raise interest rates, 2015 has been a tough year for some of the largest dividend exchange traded funds. However, the Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (NYSEArca: VYM) has been solid during some trying times for dividend stocks and ETFs.

It can be said that VYM belies its high-yield implication because the ETF’s exposure to the sectors investors view as yield destinations is relatively light. Staples, utilities and telecom combine for 26.8% of the ETF’s weight with over half that coming from staples names. That is to say that with its relatively light combined allocation to the telecom and utilities sectors, VYM is not as sensitive to rising interest rates as some utilities-heavy dividend ETFs are. [The Right Dividend ETFs for Rising Rates Protection]

For a “high yield” ETF, VYM’s exposure to the sectors investors view as yield destinations is relatively light. Staples, utilities and telecom combine for 26.1% of the ETF’s weight with over half that coming from staples names. That is to say that with its relatively light combined allocation to the telecom and utilities sectors, VYM is not as sensitive to rising interest rates as some utilities-heavy dividend ETFs are. [The Right Dividend ETFs for Rising Rates Protection]

Potential investors should be aware the tax consequences as well. Dividends are passed through to ETF investors and may be taxed as qualified and ordinary income. The providers will publish the percentage of dividends paid that were qualified at the end of the year. ETFs that rebalance semi-annually or annually will lower the chance of non-qualified dividends.

“In mid-August VYM dropped over 10%, partly on speculation that a September rate hike was evident. Since the Fed has delayed raising rates in the following two meetings, the fund has rebounded to the pre-drop levels. While VYM has not suffered a recent steep drop, it has traded cautiously over the last month, gaining under 1%. I view the potential upside to VYM, if the Fed delays yet again in December, as greatly outweighing any downside risk. In fact, while most traders are expecting a hike, they are still not completely sold on it,” according to Seeking Alpha.

The superficial allure of VYM may come by way of its high-yield title, but the stronger reason to consider the ETF is its capacity for dividend growth.

Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.