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U.S. equity markets are going through turbulent times. There is a lot of volatility and uncertainty owing to rising geopolitical risks and political uncertainty. This has increased the appeal for dividend investing.


Geopolitical Risks


North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test, that of a hydrogen bomb, which can be mounted on an Inter Continental Ballistic Missile, on Sep 3, 2017. Kim Jong-Un’s actions have created huge unrest in a number of Asian economies and the United States.


U.S. President Donald Trump has been suggesting that Kim Jong-Un’s threats will be met with military actions if he threatens to harm U.S. territories or any of its allies. US ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, said that North Korea is “begging for war” and has urged the U.N. to impose strictest sanctions on the rogue nation (read: Safe Haven Currency ETFs Gain, Dollar Loses Amid Geopolitical Uncertainty).


Political Risks


There is increased uncertainty with regard to Trump’s ability to pass the promised legislations relating to tax reform and deregulation. Although economic fundamentals have been strong, there are renewed doubts over the capabilities of the Trump administration.


Economic growth in the United States was better than initially expected by the markets. Per the Commerce Department, economic growth was 3% in second-quarter 2017 compared with its earlier estimate of 2.6% (read: ETFs to Watch on Oil Price Rise and Debt Limit Deal).


However, in a latest show of bipartisanship, Trump sided with the Democrats, to increase the debt ceiling and fund the government till mid-December. This came as a disappointment for fellow Republicans, who were pushing for a longer extension. Hours before the deal was passed Paul Ryan stated that a shorter debt limit extension would give the Democrats immense leverage over the Republicans, once the debate starts all over again in mid-December.


In such a scenario, dividend-paying securities provide consistent income to investors. The uniqueness of these securities is their increase when political uncertainty weighs on markets, more so because apart from high dividend, these securities exhibit less volatility as they are stable and mature companies.


Let us now discuss a few ETFs focused on providing exposure to U.S. equities with relatively high dividend yields.


Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG - Free Report)


This fund is a low-cost ETF that seeks to provide exposure to large, established U.S. companies providing high dividends.


It has AUM of $30.8 billion and charges a fee of 8 basis points a year. From a sector look, the fund has high exposures to Industrials, Consumer Services and Consumer Goods with 31.80%, 14.90% and 14.00% allocation, respectively (as of Jul 31, 2017). The fund’s top three holdings are Microsoft Corporation (MSFT - Free Report) , Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) and PepsiCo Inc (PEP - Free Report) with 4.4%, 4.2% and 4.1% allocation, respectively (as of Jul 31, 2017). The fund has returned 9.16% in a year and 8.56% year to date (as of Sep 7, 2017). It currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 (Buy) with a Medium risk outlook.


WisdomTree U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund (DGRW - Free Report)


This fund seeks to provide exposure to large, established U.S. companies providing high dividends by applying quality screens.


It has AUM of $1.59 billion and charges a fee of 28 basis points a year. From a sector look, the fund has high exposures to Information Technology, Health Care and Industrials with 21.11%, 20.76% and 19.52% allocation, respectively (as of Sep 7, 2017). The fund’s top three holdings are Johnson & Johnson, Apple Inc (AAPL - Free Report) and Microsoft Corporation with 6.18%, 4.47% and 3.79% allocation, respectively (as of Sep 7, 2017). The fund has returned 15.12% in a year and 11.78% year to date (as of Sep 7, 2017). It currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 with a Medium risk outlook.


iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF (DGRO - Free Report)


This fund seeks to provide cheap exposure to U.S. companies providing high dividends.


It has AUM of $2.03 billion and charges a fee of 8 basis points a year. From a sector look, the fund has high exposures to Information Technology, Health Care and Financials with 17.84%, 16.95% and 15.74% allocation, respectively (as of Sep 6, 2017). The fund’s top three holdings are Pfizer Inc (PFE - Free Report) , Apple Inc and Microsoft Corporation with 3.16%, 3.10% and 3.02% allocation, respectively (as of Sep 6, 2017). The fund has returned 13.07% in a year and 9.29% year to date (as of Sep 7, 2017). It currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a Medium risk outlook.


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