A Smart Beta ETF for Dividends & Currency Protection

Investors have been flocking to international exchange traded funds this year in search of equity exposure with better valuations than U.S. stocks. Some ETFs grant investors international exposure with the benefit of dividends and a currency hedge to protect against the potentially damaging effects of currency volatility.

The Deutsche X-trackers MSCI All World ex-US High Dividend Yield Hedged Equity ETF (NYSEArca: HDAW) is one such ETF. HDAW targets companies with higher-than-average dividend yields relative to their market-cap-weighted counterparts across both developed and emerging countries, excluding the U.S. Moreover, the ETF includes a currency hedge which helps negate the negative effects of weakening foreign currencies or a strengthen dollar on overseas returns.

Across the globe, bond market yields have been sliding as foreign central banks try to weaken their currencies, engage in loose monetary policies and add quantitative easing. The nominal yields for the benchmark 10-year notes of the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan have trended lower over the past 15 years, according to a Deutsche Asset Management research note.

HDAW, which hit an all-time high Tuesday, holds 253 stocks. The ETF is up 21.5% over the past six months, a performance that is nearly 500 basis points ahead of the MSCI EAFE Index over the same period.