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Is WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund (DFJ) a Strong ETF Right Now?

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Designed to provide broad exposure to the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs category of the market, the WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund (DFJ - Free Report) is a smart beta exchange traded fund launched on 06/16/2006.

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.

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

But, there are some investors who would rather invest in smart beta funds; these funds track non-cap weighted strategies, and are a strong option for those who prefer choosing great stocks in order to beat the market.

These indexes attempt to select stocks that have better chances of risk-return performance, based on certain fundamental characteristics or a combination of such characteristics.

The smart beta space gives investors many different choices, from equal-weighting, one of the simplest strategies, to more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting. However, not all of these methodologies have been able to deliver remarkable returns.

Fund Sponsor & Index

Managed by Wisdomtree, DFJ has amassed assets over $440.11 M, making it one of the average sized ETFs in the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs. Before fees and expenses, DFJ seeks to match the performance of the WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Index.

WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Index measures the performance of dividend-paying small capitalization companies in Japan. After the 300 largest companies have been removed from the WisdomTree Japan Dividend Index, the remaining companies are chosen for inclusion in the Index. Companies are weighted in the Index based on annual cash dividends paid.

Cost & Other Expenses

When considering an ETF's total return, expense ratios are an important factor. And, cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins in the long term if all other factors remain equal.

Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.58% for this ETF, which makes it one of the more expensive products in the space.

The fund has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 2.14%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure that minimizes single stock risk, investors should also look at the actual holdings inside the fund. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

Taking into account individual holdings, Haseko Corp accounts for about 1.18% of the fund's total assets, followed by Matsui Securities Co Ltd and Aozora Bank Ltd.

Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 7.18% of DFJ's total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF return is roughly 1.02% and is down about -14.43% so far this year and in the past one year (as of 08/08/2019), respectively. DFJ has traded between $60.90 and $78.29 during this last 52-week period.

The ETF has a beta of 0.67 and standard deviation of 13.35% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 823 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund is an excellent option for investors seeking to outperform the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs segment of the market. There are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider as well.

JPMorgan BetaBuilders Japan ETF (BBJP - Free Report) tracks MORNINGSTAR JAPAN TRGT MRKT EXPOSURE ID and the iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ - Free Report) tracks MSCI Japan Index. JPMorgan BetaBuilders Japan ETF has $3.81 B in assets, iShares MSCI Japan ETF has $12.58 B. BBJP has an expense ratio of 0.19% and EWJ charges 0.47%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Asia-Pacific (Developed) 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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