ETF Trends
ETF Trends

Due in part to a spate of negative dividend actions in the energy and materials sectors, S&P 500 dividend growth, though still expected to remain solid, is also expected to slow in 2016. As economic growth slows and observers downgrade earnings forecasts, company cash payouts, along with stock buybacks, have also lessened.

Knowing that slower dividend growth could be the new normal this year means dividend investors should emphasize the exchange traded funds that hold companies that have previously displayed the ability to boost payouts during myriad market environments.

Markets are turbulent some market observers believe the selling is overdone. For those who believe in a market rebound but are still wary of potential turns, look to steady dividend-paying stock exchange traded funds. However, investors can also turn to mid-caps for dependable income and the ProShares S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF (BATS: REGL) is one way to access mid-cap dividend consistency.

Like the ProShares S&P 500 Aristocrats ETF (NYSEArca: NOBL), the ProShares S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF tracks a dividend aristocrats index. The midcap dividend aristocrats index requires 15 consecutive years of increased dividends for inclusion whereas NOBL’s underlying index requires a minimum dividend increase streak of 25 years. [Portfolio Building With Dividend Growth ETFs]

“REGL is the only ETF that is centered on the dividend growth strategy, while the rest use other growth-oriented factors with less focus on consecutively rising dividends,” according to a Seeking Alpha analysis of the ETF.

The dividend theme may be seen as an evergreen strategy that may withstand various market environments. For instance, as the Federal Reserve looks to tighten its monetary policy, there is some evidence that suggests dividend growth stocks can outperform during periods of rising rates.

Last week, Maryland-based ProShares introduced the ProShares MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF (BATS: EMDV), the sixth ETF in the ProShares lineup of dividend growers funds, which includes NOBL and REGL.

The ProShares MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF follows the MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Masters Index, which “targets companies that are currently members of MSCI Emerging Markets and have increased dividend payments each year for at least seven consecutive years. The index contains a minimum of 40 stocks, which are equally weighted. No single sector may compose more than 30% of the index, and no single country may compose more than 50% of the index. If there are fewer than 40 stocks with at least seven consecutive years of dividend growth, or if sector or country caps are breached, the index will include companies with shorter dividend growth histories,” according to a statement issued by ProShares.

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.