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Should Invesco Defensive Equity ETF (DEF) Be on Your Investing Radar?

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The Invesco Defensive Equity ETF (DEF - Free Report) was launched on 12/15/2006, and is a passively managed exchange traded fund designed to offer broad exposure to the Large Cap Growth segment of the US equity market.

The fund is sponsored by Invesco. It has amassed assets over $243 million, making it one of the average sized ETFs attempting to match the Large Cap Growth segment of the US equity market.

Why Large Cap Growth

Companies that fall in the large cap category tend to have a market capitalization above $10 billion. Considered a more stable option, large cap companies boast more predictable cash flows and are less volatile than their mid and small cap counterparts.

Growth stocks have higher than average sales and earnings growth rates. While these are expected to grow faster than the broader market, they also have higher valuations. Something to keep in mind is the higher level of volatility that is affiliated with growth stocks. Compared to value stocks, growth stocks are a safer bet in a strong bull market, but don't perform as strongly in almost all other financial environments.

Costs

Cost is an important factor in selecting the right ETF, and cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive counterparts if all other fundamentals are the same.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.55%, putting it on par with most peer products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.32%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

While ETFs offer diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk, a deep look into a fund's holdings is a valuable exercise. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation to the Information Technology sector--about 25.50% of the portfolio. Healthcare and Industrials round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Tyler Technologies Inc (TYL - Free Report) accounts for about 1.18% of total assets, followed by Xilinx Inc (XLNX - Free Report) and Idexx Laboratories Inc (IDXX - Free Report) .

The top 10 holdings account for about 11.03% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

DEF seeks to match the performance of the Guggenheim Defensive Equity Index before fees and expenses. The Guggenheim Defensive Equity Index is comprised of approximately 100 stocks selected from the S&P 500 Index based on investment and other screening criteria. The companies selected have potentially superior risk-return profiles during periods of stock market weakness while still offering the potential for gains during periods of market strength.

The ETF has added about 2.86% so far this year and is up about 27.11% in the last one year (as of 03/16/2021). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $37.36 and $60.57.

The ETF has a beta of 0.87 and standard deviation of 21.86% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 102 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

Invesco Defensive Equity ETF carries a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Thus, DEF is a sufficient option for those seeking exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Growth area of the market. Investors might also want to consider some other ETF options in the space.

The Vanguard Growth ETF (VUG - Free Report) and the Invesco QQQ (QQQ - Free Report) track a similar index. While Vanguard Growth ETF has $68.81 billion in assets, Invesco QQQ has $152.50 billion. VUG has an expense ratio of 0.04% and QQQ charges 0.20%.

Bottom-Line

An increasingly popular option among retail and institutional investors, passively managed ETFs offer low costs, transparency, flexibility, and tax efficiency; they are also excellent vehicles for long term investors.

To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center.

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