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Is VanEck Morningstar Wide Moat ETF (MOAT) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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Designed to provide broad exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Blend category of the market, the VanEck Morningstar Wide Moat ETF (MOAT - Free Report) is a smart beta exchange traded fund launched on 04/24/2012.

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.

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.

On the other hand, some investors who believe that it is possible to beat the market by superior stock selection opt to invest in another class of funds that track non-cap weighted strategies--popularly known as smart beta.

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.

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

MOAT is managed by Van Eck, and this fund has amassed over $6.82 billion, which makes it one of the largest ETFs in the Style Box - Large Cap Blend. MOAT, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the Morningstar Wide Moat Focus Index.

The Morningstar Wide Moat Focus Index tracks the overall performance of the 20 most attractively priced companies with sustainable competitive advantages.

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 0.46%.

The fund has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.15%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

While ETFs offer diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk, a deep look into a fund's holdings is a valuable exercise. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

Representing 24.90% of the portfolio, the fund has heaviest allocation to the Information Technology sector; Healthcare and Consumer Staples round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Kellogg Co (K - Free Report) accounts for about 3.01% of total assets, followed by Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD - Free Report) and Biogen Inc (BIIB - Free Report) .

The top 10 holdings account for about 27% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

So far this year, MOAT has lost about -6.90%, and is down about -4.97% in the last one year (as of 08/04/2022). During this past 52-week period, the fund has traded between $61.32 and $78.14.

MOAT has a beta of 1.01 and standard deviation of 24.04% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a medium risk choice in the space. With about 51 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


VanEck Morningstar Wide Moat ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Style Box - Large Cap Blend segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.

IShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV - Free Report) tracks S&P 500 Index and the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY - Free Report) tracks S&P 500 Index. IShares Core S&P 500 ETF has $308.22 billion in assets, SPDR S&P 500 ETF has $376.71 billion. IVV has an expense ratio of 0.03% and SPY charges 0.09%.

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 Blend.

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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