New REITs Sector Trips, Drags on Popular Dividend ETF Plays

For instance, the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (NYSEArca: SDY), which has been a popular play on quality dividend providers, includes a hefty 8.5% tilt toward real estate companies, compared to the 3% tilt in the broader S&P 500. SDY has a 2.39% 12-month yield.

Some other popular dividend ETF plays that have a large REITs exposure include the WisdomTree MidCap Dividend Fund (NYSEArca: DON), PowerShares S&P 500 High Dividend Portfolio (NYSEArca: SPHD) and Global X SuperDividend U.S. ETF (NYSEArca: DIV).

Mid-sized value stocks have been outshining the broader market this year, and DON, which tracks the segment, has been a notable outperformer. Unlike other dividend-paying stock ETFs, DON weights components based on the total dollar amount of dividends paid as opposed to others that weight components based on yield percentage. Consequently, the mid-cap dividend ETF has accumulated a 15.7% tilt toward real estate names. DON has a 2.42% 12-month yield.

SPHD has capitalized off its combination of dividends and low-volatility this year, two popular themes in a year of heightened volatility and low-interest rates. The fund is composed of 50 securities traded on the S&P 500 Index that historically has provided high dividend yields and low volatility. As a result, the ETF has a 13.4% tilt toward real estate. SPHD has a 3.40% 12-month yield.

Additionally, DIV has been a tempting high-yielding dividend play, with a 7.19% 12-month yield. However, the fund includes a hefty 21.1% position in mortgage REITs, which have responded poorly to rising interest rates.

Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of SDY.