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

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The First Trust Large Cap Growth AlphaDEX ETF (FTC - Free Report) made its debut on 05/08/2007, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund that provides 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.

If you're the kind of investor who would rather try and beat the market through good stock selection, then smart beta funds are your best choice; this fund class is known for tracking 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.

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

Because the fund has amassed over $914.34 million, this makes it one of the average sized ETFs in the Style Box - Large Cap Growth. FTC is managed by First Trust Advisors. FTC, before fees and expenses, 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

Since cheaper funds tend to produce better results than more expensive funds, assuming all other factors remain equal, it is important for investors to pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.59%, making it on par with most peer products in the space.

It's 12-month trailing dividend yield comes in at 0.87%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

ETFs offer diversified exposure and thus minimize single stock risk, but it is still important to delve into a fund's holdings before investing. Most ETFs are very transparent products and many disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

For FTC, it has heaviest allocation in the Energy sector --about 20.20% of the portfolio --while Information Technology and Industrials round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Nucor Corporation (NUE - Free Report) accounts for about 1.04% of total assets, followed by Freeport-Mcmoran Inc. (FCX - Free Report) and Booking Holdings Inc. (BKNG - Free Report) .

The top 10 holdings account for about 9.59% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has added about 3.92% and is down about -6.77% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 01/24/2023), respectively. FTC has traded between $85.37 and $109.58 during this last 52-week period.

FTC has a beta of 1.04 and standard deviation of 27.65% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a medium risk choice in the 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 $73.88 billion in assets, Invesco QQQ has $153.86 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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