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Should Invesco Defensive Equity ETF (DEF) Be on Your Investing Radar?

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Designed to provide broad exposure to the Large Cap Growth segment of the US equity market, the Invesco Defensive Equity ETF (DEF) is a passively managed exchange traded fund launched on 12/15/2006.

The fund is sponsored by Invesco. It has amassed assets over $217.37 M, making it one of the average sized ETFs attempting to match the Large Cap Growth segment of the US equity market.

Why Large Cap Growth

Companies that find themselves in the large cap category typically have a market capitalization above $10 billion. Considered a more stable option, large cap companies boast more predictable cash flows and are less volatile than their mid and small cap counterparts.

Qualities of growth stocks include faster growth rates compared to the broader market, as well as higher valuations and higher than average sales and earnings growth rates. Further, growth stocks have a higher level of volatility associated with them. When you consider growth versus value, growth stocks are usually the clear winner in strong bull markets but tend to fall flat in nearly all other environments.

Costs

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.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.59%, putting it on par with most peer products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.21%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

ETFs offer a diversified exposure and thus minimize single stock risk but it is still important to delve into a fund's holdings before investing. Most ETFs are very transparent products and many disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation to the Healthcare sector--about 18.40% of the portfolio. Financials and Information Technology round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Constellation Brands Inc (STZ) accounts for about 1.20% of total assets, followed by Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc (BR) and Walt Disney Co/the (DIS - Free Report) .

The top 10 holdings account for about 11.06% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

DEF seeks to match the performance of the Guggenheim Defensive Equity Index before fees and expenses. The Guggenheim Defensive Equity Index is comprised of approximately 100 stocks selected from the S&P 500 Index based on investment and other screening criteria. The companies selected have potentially superior risk-return profiles during periods of stock market weakness while still offering the potential for gains during periods of market strength.

The ETF has added roughly 14.78% so far this year and is up about 11.32% in the last one year (as of 05/10/2019). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $41.71 and $51.57.

The ETF has a beta of 0.79 and standard deviation of 10.95% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 100 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

Invesco Defensive Equity ETF carries a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Thus, DEF is a good option for those seeking exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Growth area of the market. Investors might also want to consider some other ETF options in the space.

The iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (IWF) and the Invesco QQQ (QQQ) track a similar index. While iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF has $43.56 B in assets, Invesco QQQ has $72.64 B. IWF has an expense ratio of 0.20% and QQQ charges 0.20%.

Bottom-Line

While an excellent vehicle for long term investors, passively managed ETFs are a popular choice among institutional and retail investors due to their low costs, transparency, flexibility, and tax efficiency.

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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