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Should You Invest in the First Trust NASDAQ ABA Community Bank Index Fund (QABA)?

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Designed to provide broad exposure to the Financials - Community Banks segment of the equity market, the First Trust NASDAQ ABA Community Bank Index Fund (QABA - Free Report) is a passively managed exchange traded fund launched on 06/29/2009.

Passively managed ETFs are becoming increasingly popular with institutional as well as retail investors due to their low cost, transparency, flexibility and tax efficiency. They are excellent vehicles for long term investors.

Sector ETFs also provide investors access to a broad group of companies in particular sectors that offer low risk and diversified exposure. Financials - Community Banks is one of the 16 broad Zacks sectors within the Zacks Industry classification. It is currently ranked 4, placing it in top 25%.

Index Details

The fund is sponsored by First Trust Advisors. It has amassed assets over $201.21 M, making it one of the average sized ETFs attempting to match the performance of the Financials - Community Banks segment of the equity market. QABA seeks to match the performance of the NASDAQ OMX ABA Community Bank Index before fees and expenses.

The NASDAQ OMX ABA Community Bank Index is a market capitalization-weighted index. The Index includes a subset of banks and thrifts or their holding companies listed on NASDAQ.


Cost is an important factor in selecting the right ETF, and cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive counterparts if all other fundamentals are the same.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.60%, making it on par with most peer products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.88%.

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.

This ETF has heaviest allocation in the Financials sector--about 99.70% of the portfolio.

Looking at individual holdings, East West Bancorp, Inc. (EWBC - Free Report) accounts for about 3.12% of total assets, followed by Commerce Bancshares, Inc. (CBSH - Free Report) and Bok Financial Corporation (BOKF - Free Report) .

The top 10 holdings account for about 21.44% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

So far this year, QABA has added about 6.58%, and is down about -12.59% in the last one year (as of 03/27/2019). During this past 52-week period, the fund has traded between $41.05 and $58.34.

The ETF has a beta of 1.09 and standard deviation of 19.72% for the trailing three-year period, making it a high risk choice in the space. With about 161 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


First Trust NASDAQ ABA Community Bank Index Fund holds a Zacks ETF Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Because of this, QABA is an outstanding option for investors seeking exposure to the Financials ETFs segment of the market. There are other additional ETFs in the space that investors could consider as well.

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