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Is Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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A smart beta exchange traded fund, the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG - Free Report) debuted on 04/21/2006, and offers broad exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Blend 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.

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

VIG is managed by Vanguard, and this fund has amassed over $56.47 billion, which makes it one of the largest ETFs in the Style Box - Large Cap Blend. Before fees and expenses, VIG seeks to match the performance of the NASDAQ US Dividend Achievers Select Index.

The S&P U.S. Dividend Growers Index consists of common stocks of companies that have a record of increasing dividends over time.

Cost & Other Expenses

Expense ratios are an important factor in the return of an ETF and in the long-term, cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins, other things remaining the same.

Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.06% for VIG, making it one of the least expensive products in the space.

It's 12-month trailing dividend yield comes in at 0%.

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.

VIG's heaviest allocation is in the Information Technology sector, which is about 22.70% of the portfolio. Its Healthcare and Financials round out the top three.

When you look at individual holdings, Unitedhealth Group Inc. (UNH - Free Report) accounts for about 4.16% of the fund's total assets, followed by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT - Free Report) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) .

Performance and Risk

The ETF has lost about -19.82% so far this year and is down about -10.13% in the last one year (as of 10/03/2022). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $135.16 and $172.21.

The fund has a beta of 0.85 and standard deviation of 22.14% for the trailing three-year period, which makes VIG a medium risk choice in this particular space. With about 291 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


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

ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF (NOBL - Free Report) tracks S&P 500 DividendAristocrats Index and the iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF (DGRO - Free Report) tracks Morningstar US Dividend Growth Index. ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF has $9.22 billion in assets, iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF has $21.15 billion. NOBL has an expense ratio of 0.35% and DGRO charges 0.08%.

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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