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Is First Trust Mid Cap Value AlphaDEX ETF (FNK) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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The First Trust Mid Cap Value AlphaDEX ETF (FNK - Free Report) made its debut on 04/19/2011, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund that provides broad exposure to the Style Box - Mid Cap Value category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

The ETF industry has long been dominated by products based on market cap weighted indexes, a strategy created to reflect the market or a particular market segment.

Investors who believe in market efficiency should consider market cap indexes, as they replicate market returns in a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way.

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.

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 First Trust Advisors, FNK has amassed assets over $212.88 million, making it one of the average sized ETFs in the Style Box - Mid Cap Value. Before fees and expenses, this particular fund seeks to match the performance of the Nasdaq AlphaDEX Mid Cap Value Index.

The NASDAQ AlphaDEX Mid Cap Value Index is an enhanced index which employs the AlphaDEX stock selection methodology to select stocks from the NASDAQ US 600 Mid Cap Value 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 one of the most expensive products in the space, this ETF has annual operating expenses of 0.70%.

It's 12-month trailing dividend yield comes in at 1.77%.

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 30.80% of the portfolio, the fund has heaviest allocation to the Financials sector; Consumer Discretionary and Industrials round out the top three.

Taking into account individual holdings, Western Alliance Bancorporation (WAL - Free Report) accounts for about 1% of the fund's total assets, followed by Sm Energy Company (SM - Free Report) and Hf Sinclair Corp. (DINO - Free Report) .

Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 8.96% of FNK's total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has added roughly 7.80% and was up about 3.72% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 11/30/2023), respectively. FNK has traded between $40.99 and $50.05 during this last 52-week period.

The fund has a beta of 1.31 and standard deviation of 22.03% for the trailing three-year period, which makes FNK a medium risk choice in this particular space. With about 226 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


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

IShares Russell Mid-Cap Value ETF (IWS - Free Report) tracks Russell MidCap Value Index and the Vanguard Mid-Cap Value ETF (VOE - Free Report) tracks CRSP U.S. Mid Cap Value Index. IShares Russell Mid-Cap Value ETF has $12.18 billion in assets, Vanguard Mid-Cap Value ETF has $15.42 billion. IWS has an expense ratio of 0.23% and VOE charges 0.07%.

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 - Mid 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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