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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- We have endured a few hiccups, but the bulls have shown an unwillingness to give up the reigns as we head towards the end of the first quarter of 2012.
This relentless march higher has helped restore some confidence and drive investors back into riskier asset classes and corners of the globe. While encouraging, there are still investors who remain on a hair-trigger. In the event of a shakeup, these individuals will be quick to express their doubts and scramble for the comfort of safe haven asset classes.
Fortunately for these individuals, the expansion of the ETF industry has led to the development of products designed to help them stay invested while protecting against an upheaval.
For instance, by turning to a product like the WisdomTree
Emerging Markets Equity Income ETF(DEM), it is possible to gain exposure to the inherently volatile developing world.
In addition to tracking companies from popular nations like Brazil, Taiwan, and Turkey, however, the fund's dedication to income-earning names will ensure a welcomed line of defense against global economic headwinds.
Over the past year period, DEM's yield-focused take on the developing world has paid off, helping the fund beat out non-dividend-focused emerging market products like the
Vanguard Emerging Market ETF(VWO) and the
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund(EEM) by a comfortable margin.
However, like domestic
dividend funds such as the
iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index Fund(DVY), DEM has lagged against these plain-vanilla instruments in 2012's risk-on environment.
Despite its recent spurt of subpar action, fund companies are increasingly warming up to this investment strategy. During the final days of February, ETF leader
Blackrock(BLK - Get Report) announced that it was venturing into this corner of the emerging world with its own fund: the
iShares Emerging Markets Dividend Index Fund(DVYE).
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DVYE is still young, but the fund is definitely worth keeping an eye on. Although the fund mimics DEM's overall strategy, it is clear that the newcomer offers a new take. There are a number of clear differences including total holdings, but the most notable dissimilarities can be seen in the two funds' sector breakdowns.
Financials represent major slices of both products. However, DEM is by far the leader, allocating over a quarter of its assets to this sector. DVYE, meanwhile, sets aside less than 15% of its portfolio here. Technology represents another clear divergence. In DEM, IT companies represent close to 14% of the assets; the sector accounts for only 6% of DVYE.