After an astounding rally, Wall Street suffered its worst day in almost three months, especially driven by the sharp sell-off in technology stocks. Concerns over lofty valuations, deadlock over another financial-aid package, budget negotiations, and election uncertainty led to risk-off trading.
The rough trading will likely continue given the seasonal phenomenon. Notably, September is historically a weak month for the stock market. However, economic reports indicate that the American economy is gradually returning to the pre-pandemic level. The euphoria surrounding a COVID-19 vaccine, support from the Federal Reserve, and hopes of a new stimulus package could offer some upside to the stocks (read: Top-Ranked Mid-Cap ETFs Set to Defy September Curse).
The sluggish trading has rekindled investors’ love for products that provide stability and safety in a rocky market. Nothing seems a better strategy than picking dividend-focused products in this kind of an environment. This is generally considered a traditional strategy for investors looking to protect their portfolios.
Dividend-focused products offer safety in the form of payouts while at the same time providing stability as mature companies are less volatile to large swings in stock prices. Dividend-paying securities are the major source of consistent income for investors to create wealth when returns from the equity market are at risk. This is because the companies that pay out dividends generally act as a hedge against economic uncertainty and provide downside protection by offering outsized payouts or sizable yields on a regular basis.
While there are plenty of options in the dividend ETF world, we have highlighted five funds from the category that have the lowest expense ratio below 10% and a solid Zacks ETF Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy). These could be solid options for investors in uncertain markets.
Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG - Free Report)
This is the largest and most popular ETF in the dividend space with AUM of $48.8 billion and average daily volume of about 1.1 million shares. The fund follows the NASDAQ US Dividend Achievers Select Index, which is composed of high-quality stocks that have a record of growing dividend year over year. It holds 212 securities in the basket with none accounting for more than 4.6% share. However, it has a definite tilt toward consumer services at 22.7% of assets while industrials, healthcare, technology and consumer goods round off the next four spots. The fund charges 6 bps in annual fees and has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 with a Medium risk outlook (read: ETFs to Tap Warren Buffett's Investing Ideas as He Turns 90).
Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM - Free Report)
This fund provides exposure to the high-yielding dividend stocks by tracking the FTSE High Dividend Yield Index. Holding 426 securities, the product is pretty well spread out across components as each holds no more than 4% of assets. In terms of sector, the fund is also widely spread out with financials, health care, consumer goods, and technology sectors taking double-digit exposure each in the basket. It has amassed $27.5 billion in its asset base while trades in volume of 1.5 million shares a day, on average. Expense ratio comes in at 0.06%. VYM has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 with a Medium risk outlook.
SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 High Dividend ETF (SPYD - Free Report)
This fund provides exposure to stocks with a high level of dividend income and the opportunity for capital appreciation by tracking the S&P 500 High Dividend Index. Holding 80 stocks in its basket, the fund is well diversified across securities with each making up for less than 1.6% of assets. It has AUM of $2 billion and trades in volume of about 1.3 million shares. It charges 7 bps in annual fees and has a Zacks ETF Rank of #2 with a Medium risk outlook (read: ETFs to Win on S&P's Upside Potential on Way to Record Close).
iShares Core High Dividend ETF (HDV - Free Report)
This ETF provides exposure to 75 dividend-paying domestic stocks that have been screened for financial health by tracking the Morningstar Dividend Yield Focus Index. It is moderately concentrated on the top firms as each holds not more than 9.4% of the assets. Healthcare (22.2%), energy (18.1%), communications (16.3%) and consumer staples (10.4%) are the top four sectors. HDV is among the largest and most popular funds in the space with an AUM of more than $5.7 billion and trades in a solid volume of around 395,000 shares a day. It charges 8 bps in fees per year and has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 with a Medium risk outlook.
iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF (DGRO - Free Report)
This fund provides exposure to companies having a history of sustained dividend growth by tracking the Morningstar US Dividend Growth Index. It holds 419 stocks in its basket with none accounting for more than 4% share. Information technology, financials, healthcare, industrials, and consumer staples are the top sectors with a double-digit allocation each. The fund has accumulated $12.2 billion in its asset base and trades in good volumes of about 1.6 million shares. It charges 8 bps in fees per year and has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 with a Medium risk outlook (read: Here's Why Dividend Growth ETFs Look Appealing Now).
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