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Is First Trust Large Cap Growth AlphaDEX ETF (FTC) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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Making its debut on 05/08/2007, smart beta exchange traded fund First Trust Large Cap Growth AlphaDEX ETF (FTC - Free Report) provides investors broad exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Growth category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

Market cap weighted indexes were created to reflect the market, or a specific segment of the market, and the ETF industry has traditionally been dominated by products based on this strategy.

Market cap weighted indexes offer a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, and are a good option 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.

This area offers many different investment choices, such as simplest equal-weighting, fundamental weighting and volatility/momentum based weighting methodologies; however, not all of these strategies can deliver superior results.

Fund Sponsor & Index

The fund is managed by First Trust Advisors, and has been able to amass over $916.84 million, which makes it one of the average sized ETFs in the Style Box - Large Cap Growth. Before fees and expenses, this particular fund seeks to match the performance of the Nasdaq AlphaDEX Large Cap Growth Index.

The NASDAQ AlphaDEX Large Cap Growth Index is an enhanced index which employs the AlphaDEX stock selection methodology to select stocks from the NASDAQ US 500 Large Cap Growth 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 0.59%.

The fund has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 0.23%.

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.

Representing 21.60% of the portfolio, the fund has heaviest allocation to the Information Technology sector; Healthcare and Industrials round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX - Free Report) accounts for about 1.18% of total assets, followed by Autozone, Inc. (AZO - Free Report) and Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY - Free Report) .

Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 10.37% of FTC's total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has lost about -20.20% and is down about -18.44% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 09/15/2022), respectively. FTC has traded between $85.37 and $124.15 during this last 52-week period.

The fund has a beta of 1.05 and standard deviation of 26.78% for the trailing three-year period, which makes FTC a medium risk choice in this particular space. With about 188 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


First Trust Large Cap Growth AlphaDEX ETF is an excellent option for investors seeking to outperform the Style Box - Large Cap Growth segment of the market. There are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider as well.

Vanguard Growth ETF (VUG - Free Report) tracks CRSP U.S. Large Cap Growth Index and the Invesco QQQ (QQQ - Free Report) tracks NASDAQ-100 Index. Vanguard Growth ETF has $73.07 billion in assets, Invesco QQQ has $161.34 billion. VUG has an expense ratio of 0.04% and QQQ charges 0.20%.

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 Growth.

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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