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Is iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF (DGRO) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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The iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF (DGRO - Free Report) made its debut on 06/10/2014, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund that provides broad exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Value category of the market.

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.

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.

Based on specific fundamental characteristics, or a combination of such, these indexes attempt to pick stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance.

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

Managed by Blackrock, DGRO has amassed assets over $22.19 billion, making it one of the largest ETFs in the Style Box - Large Cap Value. Before fees and expenses, DGRO seeks to match the performance of the Morningstar US Dividend Growth Index.

The Morningstar US Dividend Growth Index is composed of U.S. equities with a history of consistently growing dividends.

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.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.08%, making it one of the least expensive products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 3.06%.

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.

For DGRO, it has heaviest allocation in the Information Technology sector --about 20% of the portfolio --while Healthcare and Financials round out the top three.

When you look at individual holdings, Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM - Free Report) accounts for about 3.09% of the fund's total assets, followed by Jpmorgan Chase & Co (JPM - Free Report) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) .

Performance and Risk

The ETF has lost about -3.52% so far this year and is down about -6.83% in the last one year (as of 03/24/2023). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $44.47 and $54.47.

The fund has a beta of 0.90 and standard deviation of 20.02% for the trailing three-year period, which makes DGRO a medium risk choice in this particular space. With about 452 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


IShares Core Dividend Growth 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 MSCI EAFE Growth ETF (EFG - Free Report) tracks MSCI EAFE Growth Index and the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG - Free Report) tracks NASDAQ US Dividend Achievers Select Index. IShares MSCI EAFE Growth ETF has $12.25 billion in assets, Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF has $62.81 billion. EFG has an expense ratio of 0.36% and VIG charges 0.06%.

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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