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Is Franklin U.S. Equity Index ETF (USPX) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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Making its debut on 06/01/2016, smart beta exchange traded fund Franklin U.S. Equity Index ETF (USPX - Free Report) provides investors broad exposure to the Style Box - All Cap Blend 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.

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.

Even though this space provides many choices to investors--think one of the simplest methodologies like equal-weighting and more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting--not all have been able to deliver first-rate results.

Fund Sponsor & Index

Because the fund has amassed over $1.03 billion, this makes it one of the larger ETFs in the Style Box - All Cap Blend. USPX is managed by Franklin Templeton Investments. USPX, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the MORNINGSTAR US TARGET MARKET EXPOSURE ID.

The Morningstar US Target Market Exposure Index targets large and mid-capitalization U.S. stocks representing the top 85% of the U.S. equity market by float-adjusted market capitalization.

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.

With one of the least expensive products in the space, this ETF has annual operating expenses of 0.03%.

USPX's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 1.29%.

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.

This ETF has heaviest allocation in the Information Technology sector - about 29.80% of the portfolio. Financials and Healthcare round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Apple Inc (AAPL - Free Report) accounts for about 6.96% of total assets, followed by Microsoft Corp (MSFT - Free Report) and Inc (AMZN - Free Report) .

USPX's top 10 holdings account for about 29.77% of its total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

Year-to-date, the Franklin U.S. Equity Index ETF has gained about 4.76% so far, and is up about 26.90% over the last 12 months (as of 02/22/2024). USPX has traded between $33.56 and $43.96 in this past 52-week period.

The ETF has a beta of 0.87 and standard deviation of 17.38% for the trailing three-year period. With about 606 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


Franklin U.S. Equity Index ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Style Box - All Cap Blend segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.

IShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF (ITOT - Free Report) tracks S&P Total Market Index and the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI - Free Report) tracks CRSP US Total Market Index. IShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF has $51.52 billion in assets, Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF has $367.05 billion. ITOT has an expense ratio of 0.03% and VTI charges 0.03%.

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 - All 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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