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

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

The fund is sponsored by Invesco. It has amassed assets over $251.33 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 find themselves in the large cap category typically have a market capitalization above $10 billion. Overall, they are usually a stable option, with less risk and more sure-fire cash flows than mid and small cap companies.

Qualities of growth stocks include faster growth rates compared to the broader market, as well as higher valuations and higher than average sales and earnings growth rates. Something to keep in mind is the higher level of volatility that is affiliated with growth stocks. Even though growth stocks are more likely to outperform their value counterparts in strong bull markets, value stocks have a record of delivering better returns in almost all markets than growth stocks.

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 0.53%, putting it on par with most peer products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.25%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

It is important to delve into an ETF's holdings before investing despite the many upsides to these kinds of funds like diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk. 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 22.20% of the portfolio. Healthcare and Industrials round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Amgen Inc (AMGN - Free Report) accounts for about 1.06% of total assets, followed by Ebay Inc (EBAY - Free Report) and Quest Diagnostics Inc (DGX - Free Report) .

The top 10 holdings account for about 10.46% 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 roughly 9.17% so far this year and it's up approximately 31.85% in the last one year (as of 04/29/2021). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $47.81 and $64.26.

The ETF has a beta of 0.87 and standard deviation of 21.68% 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 good 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 $74.38 billion in assets, Invesco QQQ has $163.77 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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