Where to go for better international dividend yields
ExU.S. Developed market equities and related exchange-traded funds typically post higher dividend yields than comparable U.S.-focused offerings, but knowing that’s only half the battle for income investors at the seeking international diversification.
Investors should be selective in their approach to international dividend payers and seek a combination of robust returns, lower volatility potential and opportunities for payout growth. the ALPS International Sector Dividend Dogs ETF (NYSEArca: IDOG) is an example of an ETF that ticks these boxes.
IDOG, which is almost nine years old, tracks the S-Network International Sector Dividend Dogs Index. This benchmark lives up to the standard of offering a higher dividend than the competing US rate.
“The difference in yield becomes more evident when looking at dividend indices. The S-Network Sector Dividend Dogs Index (SDOGX) – a domestic stock income index – has a five-year average return of 4 .5% relative to the S-Network International Sector Dividend Dogs Index (IDOGX) – a developed international equity income index – which has a five-year average return of 5.2%. IDOGX all have higher average dividend yields than the US,” notes Alerian analyst Roxanna Islam.
IDOG’s constituents and sector exposures are equally weighted, which reduces concentration risk at the holding and sector level. The ETF’s geographic exposures are not weighted equally. In this case, that’s fine because some ex-US developed markets are more known for their dividends than others.
On the yield front, IDOG allocates over 30% of its combined weight to the UK and Australia. A nearly 19% allocation to Japanese equities indicates that IDOG has some leverage on sources of quality dividend growth.
IDOG’s methodology “reduces the focus on sectors such as financials and healthcare, which are heavily weighted in broader international dividend indices. The strategy is built to select stocks with the highest dividend yields (assumed to be the cheapest in their sector) with the assumption that prices will appreciate throughout the year and revert to the mean,” Islam adds.
IDOG currently yields 3.55%, 127 basis points higher than the MSCI EAFE index. Additionally, IDOG is trading higher year-to-date, while the MSCI EAFE Index is down 7.36%. It’s confirmation that dividends matter.
Other international developed market dividend ETFs include FlexShares International Quality Dividend Dynamic Index Fund (NYSEArca: IQDY)the ProShares MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF (CBOE: EFAD), and the SPDR S&P International Dividend ETF (NYSEArca: DWX).
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.