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Is SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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Making its debut on 11/08/2005, smart beta exchange traded fund SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY - Free Report) provides investors 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.

A good option for investors who believe in market efficiency, market cap weighted indexes offer a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns.

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.

These indexes attempt to select stocks that have better chances of risk-return performance, based on certain fundamental characteristics or a combination of 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 State Street Global Advisors. It has amassed assets over $21.22 billion, making it one of the largest ETFs in the Style Box - Large Cap Value. SDY seeks to match the performance of the S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index before fees and expenses.

The S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index measures the performance of the highest dividend yielding S&P Composite 1500 Index constituents that have followed a managed-dividends policy of consistently increasing dividends every year for at least 20 consecutive years.

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.

Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.35% for SDY, making it on par with most peer products in the space.

It's 12-month trailing dividend yield comes in at 2.75%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Most ETFs are very transparent products, and disclose their holdings on a daily basis. ETFs also offer diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk, though it's still important for investors to research a fund's holdings.

This ETF has heaviest allocation in the Utilities sector - about 16.10% of the portfolio. Consumer Staples and Industrials round out the top three.

When you look at individual holdings, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM - Free Report) accounts for about 2.18% of the fund's total assets, followed by Leggett & Platt Incorporated (LEG - Free Report) and Amcor Plc (AMCR - Free Report) .

Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 16.55% of SDY's total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

So far this year, SDY has lost about -4.43%, and is up roughly 3.14% in the last one year (as of 07/25/2022). During this past 52-week period, the fund has traded between $114.07 and $132.30.

SDY has a beta of 0.85 and standard deviation of 24.71% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a medium risk choice in the space. With about 122 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


SPDR S&P Dividend ETF is an excellent option for investors seeking to outperform the Style Box - Large Cap Value segment of the market. There are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider as well.

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 $51.92 billion in assets, Vanguard Value ETF has $95.23 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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