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Is iShares Edge MSCI Multifactor Intl ETF (INTF) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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The iShares Edge MSCI Multifactor Intl ETF (INTF - Free Report) was launched on 04/28/2015, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund designed to offer broad exposure to the Broad Developed World ETFs 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.

Market cap weighted indexes offer a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, and are a good option for investors who believe in market efficiency.

However, some investors believe in the possibility of beating the market through exceptional stock selection, and choose a different type of fund that tracks non-cap weighted strategies: 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

Because the fund has amassed over $1.26 B, this makes it one of the larger ETFs in the Broad Developed World ETFs. INTF is managed by Blackrock. INTF, before fees and expenses, seeks to match the performance of the MSCI World ex USA Diversified Multi-Factor Index.

The MSCI World ex USA Diversified Multi-Factor Index is designed to select equity securities from MSCI World ex USA Index that have high exposure to four investment style factors: value, quality, momentum and low size, while maintaining a level of risk similar to that of the Parent Index.

Cost & Other Expenses

For ETF investors, expense ratios are an important factor when considering a fund's return; in the long-term, cheaper funds actually have the ability to outperform their more expensive cousins if all other things remain the same.

Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.30% for INTF, making it one of the cheaper products in the space.

It's 12-month trailing dividend yield comes in at 3.12%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

ETFs offer 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.

Looking at individual holdings, Roche Holding Par Ag (ROG - Free Report) accounts for about 3.36% of total assets, followed by Rio Tinto Plc (RIO - Free Report) and Hitachi Ltd.

Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 20.56% of INTF's total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF return is roughly 11.67% so far this year and is down about -3.35% in the last one year (as of 06/26/2019). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $22.95 and $28.47.

INTF has a beta of 0.89 and standard deviation of 13.24% for the trailing three-year period, which makes the fund a medium risk choice in the space. With about 228 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

IShares Edge MSCI Multifactor Intl ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Broad Developed World ETFs segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.

Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU - Free Report) tracks FTSE All-World ex US Index and the Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA - Free Report) tracks FTSE Developed All Cap ex US Index. Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF has $23.36 B in assets, Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF has $71.69 B. VEU has an expense ratio of 0.09% and VEA charges 0.05%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Broad Developed World ETFs.

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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