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Is First Trust Large Cap Value AlphaDEX ETF (FTA) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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Launched on 05/08/2007, the First Trust Large Cap Value AlphaDEX ETF (FTA - Free Report) is a smart beta exchange traded fund offering broad exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Value 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.

But, there are some investors who would rather invest in smart beta funds; these funds track non-cap weighted strategies, and are a strong option for those who prefer choosing great stocks in order to beat the market.

Non-cap weighted indexes try to choose stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance, which is based on specific fundamental characteristics, or a mix of other such characteristics.

Methodologies like equal-weighting, one of the simplest options out there, fundamental weighting, and volatility/momentum based weighting are all choices offered to investors in this space, but not all of them can deliver superior returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

The fund is sponsored by First Trust Advisors. It has amassed assets over $1.11 billion, making it one of the average sized ETFs in the Style Box - Large Cap Value. Before fees and expenses, FTA seeks to match the performance of the Nasdaq AlphaDEX Large Cap Value Index.

The NASDAQ AlphaDEX Large Cap Value Index is an enhanced index which employs the AlphaDEX stock selection methodology to select stocks from the NASDAQ US 500 Large Cap Value Index.

Cost & Other Expenses

Since cheaper funds tend to produce better results than more expensive funds, assuming all other factors remain equal, it is important for investors to pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio.

Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.60% for this ETF, which makes it one of the most expensive products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.52%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure that minimizes single stock risk, investors should also look at the actual holdings inside the fund. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation in the Financials sector - about 24.60% of the portfolio. Utilities and Industrials round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Pg&e Corporation (PCG - Free Report) accounts for about 0.99% of total assets, followed by Arch Capital Group Ltd. (ACGL - Free Report) and Celanese Corporation (CE - Free Report) .

FTA's top 10 holdings account for about 9.38% of its total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

So far this year, FTA return is roughly 27.02%, and it's up approximately 42.68% in the last one year (as of 11/05/2021). During this past 52-week period, the fund has traded between $48.94 and $68.35.

FTA has a beta of 1.23 and standard deviation of 28.21% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a medium risk choice in the space. With about 188 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


First Trust Large Cap Value AlphaDEX ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Style Box - Large Cap Value segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.

IShares Russell 1000 Value ETF (IWD - Free Report) tracks Russell 1000 Value Index and the Vanguard Value ETF (VTV - Free Report) tracks CRSP U.S. Large Cap Value Index. IShares Russell 1000 Value ETF has $57.31 billion in assets, Vanguard Value ETF has $88.03 billion. IWD has an expense ratio of 0.19% and VTV charges 0.04%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Style Box - Large Cap Value.

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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