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Is Nuveen ESG LargeCap Value ETF (NULV) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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The Nuveen ESG LargeCap Value ETF (NULV - Free Report) was launched on 12/13/2016, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund designed to offer broad exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Value category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

Products that are based on market cap weighted indexes, which are strategies designed to reflect a specific market segment or the market as a whole, have traditionally dominated the ETF industry.

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.

However, some investors believe in the possibility of beating the market through exceptional stock selection, and choose a different type of fund that tracks non-cap weighted strategies: smart beta.

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.

The smart beta space gives investors many different choices, from equal-weighting, one of the simplest strategies, to more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting. However, not all of these methodologies have been able to deliver remarkable returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

Because the fund has amassed over $1.29 billion, this makes it one of the average sized ETFs in the Style Box - Large Cap Value. NULV is managed by Nuveen. This particular fund, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the TIAA ESG USA Large-Cap Value Index.

The TIAA ESG USA Large-Cap Value Index comprises of equity securities issued by large capitalization companies listed on US exchanges. It uses a rules-based methodology that seeks to provide investment exposure generally replicating large-cap value benchmarks through a portfolio of securities adhering to predetermined ESG, controversial business involvement & low-carbon criteria.

Cost & Other Expenses

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

With on par with most peer products in the space, this ETF has annual operating expenses of 0.25%.

NULV's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 4.50%.

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.

NULV's heaviest allocation is in the Financials sector, which is about 21.40% of the portfolio. Its Healthcare and Industrials round out the top three.

When you look at individual holdings, Procter & Gamble Co/the (PG - Free Report) accounts for about 2.97% of the fund's total assets, followed by Home Depot Inc (HD - Free Report) and Pepsico Inc (PEP - Free Report) .

The top 10 holdings account for about 22.17% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF return is roughly 0.28% and is up about 20.93% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 01/10/2022), respectively. NULV has traded between $32.32 and $39.88 during this last 52-week period.

NULV has a beta of 0.97 and standard deviation of 22.23% for the trailing three-year period. With about 118 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


Nuveen ESG LargeCap Value 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 ESG Aware MSCI EAFE ETF (ESGD - Free Report) tracks MSCI EAFE ESG Focus Index and the iShares ESG Aware MSCI USA ETF (ESGU - Free Report) tracks MSCI USA ESG Focus Index. IShares ESG Aware MSCI EAFE ETF has $7.62 billion in assets, iShares ESG Aware MSCI USA ETF has $25.44 billion. ESGD has an expense ratio of 0.20% and ESGU charges 0.15%.

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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