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Is First Trust Consumer Discretionary AlphaDEX ETF (FXD) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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The First Trust Consumer Discretionary AlphaDEX ETF (FXD - Free Report) was launched on 05/08/2007, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund designed to offer broad exposure to the Consumer Discretionary ETFs category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

The ETF industry has traditionally been dominated by products based on market capitalization weighted indexes that are designed to represent the market or a particular segment of the market.

Because market cap weighted indexes provide a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, they work well for investors who believe in market efficiency.

There are some investors, though, who think it's possible to beat the market with great stock selection; this group likely invests in another class of funds known as smart beta, which track non-cap weighted strategies.

By attempting to pick stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance, non-cap weighted indexes are based on certain fundamental characteristics, or a combination of such.

While this space offers a number of choices to investors, including simplest equal-weighting, fundamental weighting and volatility/momentum based weighting methodologies, not all these strategies have been able to deliver superior results.

Fund Sponsor & Index

The fund is managed by First Trust Advisors, and has been able to amass over $1.99 billion, which makes it one of the largest ETFs in the Consumer Discretionary ETFs. FXD seeks to match the performance of the StrataQuant Consumer Discretionary Index before fees and expenses.

The StrataQuant Consumer Discretionary Index employs the AlphaDEX stock selection methodology to select stocks from the Russell 1000 Index.

Cost & Other Expenses

Investors should also pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio. Lower cost products will produce better results than those with a higher cost, assuming all other metrics remain the same.

With on par with most peer products in the space, this ETF has annual operating expenses of 0.63%.

FXD's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 0.44%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

ETFs offer diversified exposure and thus minimize single stock risk, but it is still important to delve into a fund's holdings before investing. Most ETFs are very transparent products and many disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

Representing 84.30% of the portfolio, the fund has heaviest allocation to the Consumer Discretionary sector; Telecom and Industrials round out the top three.

Taking into account individual holdings, Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc. (DKS - Free Report) accounts for about 1.95% of the fund's total assets, followed by Penske Automotive Group, Inc. (PAG - Free Report) and Tempur Sealy International, Inc. (TPX - Free Report) .

The top 10 holdings account for about 15.67% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has gained about 23.46% and is up roughly 49.23% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 09/27/2021), respectively. FXD has traded between $42.28 and $62.89 during this last 52-week period.

The ETF has a beta of 1.43 and standard deviation of 30.07% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 123 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


First Trust Consumer Discretionary AlphaDEX ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Consumer Discretionary ETFs segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.

Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF (VCR - Free Report) tracks MSCI US Investable Market Consumer Discretionary 25/50 Index and the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLY - Free Report) tracks Consumer Discretionary Select Sector Index. Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF has $6.73 billion in assets, Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR ETF has $20.30 billion. VCR has an expense ratio of 0.10% and XLY charges 0.12%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Consumer Discretionary ETFs.

Bottom Line

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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