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Is First Trust Value Line Dividend ETF (FVD) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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The First Trust Value Line Dividend ETF (FVD - Free Report) was launched on 08/19/2003, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund designed to offer broad exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Value 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.

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.

This kind of index follows this same mindset, as it attempts to pick stocks that have better chances of risk-return performance; non-cap weighted strategies base selection on certain fundamental characteristics, or a mix of such characteristics.

The smart beta space gives investors many different choices, from equal-weighting, one of the simplest strategies, to more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting. However, not all of these methodologies have been able to deliver remarkable returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

Managed by First Trust Advisors, FVD has amassed assets over $10.62 billion, making it one of the larger ETFs in the Style Box - Large Cap Value. This particular fund, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the Value Line Dividend Index.

The Value Line Dividend Index is a modified equal dollar weighted index comprised of U.S. exchange listed securities of companies that pay above-average dividends and have potential for capital appreciation.

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.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.65%, making it one of the most expensive products in the space.

FVD's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 2.42%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure which minimizes single stock risk, it is still important to look into a fund's holdings before investing. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

Representing 22.20% of the portfolio, the fund has heaviest allocation to the Utilities sector; Industrials and Consumer Staples round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Brady Corporation (BRC - Free Report) accounts for about 0.68% of total assets, followed by Sensient Technologies Corporation (SXT - Free Report) and International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF - Free Report) .

FVD's top 10 holdings account for about 6.42% of its total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

Year-to-date, the First Trust Value Line Dividend ETF has lost about -1.97% so far, and is down about -1.15% over the last 12 months (as of 11/16/2023). FVD has traded between $36.09 and $41.46 in this past 52-week period.

The ETF has a beta of 0.80 and standard deviation of 13.75% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 170 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


First Trust Value Line Dividend ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Style Box - Large Cap Value segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.

IShares Russell 1000 Value ETF (IWD - Free Report) tracks Russell 1000 Value Index and the Vanguard Value ETF (VTV - Free Report) tracks CRSP U.S. Large Cap Value Index. IShares Russell 1000 Value ETF has $49.72 billion in assets, Vanguard Value ETF has $99.15 billion. IWD has an expense ratio of 0.19% and VTV charges 0.04%.

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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