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International stocks outperformed U.S. stocks in May and we see that trend play out in the dividend ETF universe as well. Only 6 of the 30 top performing dividend ETFs for the month had a U.S. focus.

International value outperformed during the first half of May, while growth took over during the second half. That leaves an environment where neither really stepped forward during the month as a whole. As such, we see a pretty broad mixture of dividend growth and high yield ETFs leading the list.

Here's the list of the top 30 best performing dividend ETFs for the month of May 2021.

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Top Dividend ETFs for May 2021

Top Dividend ETFs for May 2021

There's a pretty small range of returns between the #1 spot and #30. The Global X MSCI SuperDividend EAFE ETF (EFAS), a fund which invests in 50 of the highest dividend yielding equity securities from non-U.S. developed markets worldwide, led the way with a 5.7% return compared to a 3.5% return for the broader EAFE indices. It's obviously a high yield fund and benefited from an overall preference for riskier assets. Other leading high yield ETFs include the ALPS Emerging Sector Dividend Dogs ETF (EDOG), the Fidelity International High Dividend Yield ETF (FIDI) and the Vanguard International High Dividend Yield ETF (VYMI), a fund we profiled recently in our Vanguard dividend ETF article.

The quality and dividend growth focus controlled a few more spaces at the top of the list. The O'Shares Europe Quality Dividend ETF (OEUR) took advantage of the relative outperformance of the Eurozone over Asia. The Invesco International Dividend Achievers ETF (PID) and the First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend Index ETF (FDD) also delivered 5% returns in May.

The First Trust Dorsey Wright Momentum & Dividend ETF (DDIV), an ETF which tracks the overall performance of the 50 highest dividend yielding stocks within a universe of U.S. large- and mid-cap stocks, was the best performing domestic ETF returning 4.3%. The TrueShares Low Volatility Equity Income ETF (DIVZ) only debuted earlier this year, but still managed to appear among May's top performers. The SPDR Russell 1000 Yield Focus ETF (ONEY) targets large-caps that demonstrate high yield, value and quality characteristics. The AAM S&P 500 High Dividend Value ETF (SPDV) targets stocks with high yields and strong dividend sustainability.

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