Top 10 Established Dividend ETFs

NEW YORK ( ETF Digest) -- This posting features a comprehensive review of the established dividend ETF sector. In this view we feature those dividend related ETFs that have more conservative constituents and have been in existence for longer than a few years. There are dozens within the category with more on the way as current western demographics with an aging population show investors gravitate to safer dividend and income sectors. To simplify matters for investors we've whittled choices down to 10. The issues chosen represent a broad cross section of domestic, global, overseas, real estate (REITs) and other sectors from a variety of sponsors. Doing so makes sorting through the sector more manageable for most investors.

Each category is filtered by placing importance on high assets under management, liquidity and/or strategies that make a difference being the most critical tests. Newer issues tied to new indexes with long (over 5 years) of historical data may be worth investigating, featuring and using as alternatives if necessary.

As equity market volatility has increased over the past two years combined with previously noted changing demographics there has been a large shift from conventional equity sectors to dividend and income sectors. This trend may continue for a longer period than anyone can expect.

Remember just searching for the highest dividend yields can lead to troubled sectors where the ability to maintain the dividend may become questionable.

We feature a technical view of conditions from monthly chart views. Simplistically, we recommend longer-term investors stay on the right side of the 12 month simple moving average. When prices are above the moving average, stay long, and when below remain in cash or short. Some more interested in a fundamental approach may not care so much about technical issues preferring instead to buy when prices are perceived as a bargain and sell for other reasons when high; but, this is not our approach. Premium members to the ETF Digest receive added signals when markets become extended such as DeMark triggers to exit overbought/oversold conditions.

#10: SPDR Dow Jones International Real Estate ETF (RWX)

RWX follows the Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Real Estate Securities Index which consists of REITs in developed and emerging markets. It was launched in December 2006. AUM equal $2.5 billion while average daily trading volume is over 588K shares. As of early March 2012 the annual dividend yield is 3.68% and YTD performance 14.67%. The one year return was -4.86%. The poor performance is the result of chaos overseas particularly within the eurozone. 

RWX Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

Data as of First Quarter 2012

  1. Westfield Group (WDC): 7.08%
  2. Unibail-Rodamco SE (UL): 6.21%
  3. Brookfield Asset Management, Inc. (BAM): 6.16%
  4. Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. (8801): 5.89%
  5. Land Securities Group PLC (LAND): 2.97%
  6. Hang Lung Properties Ltd. (00101): 2.96%
  7. Link Real Estate Investment Trust (00823): 2.95%
  8. Westfield Retail Trust (WRT): 2.75%
  9. Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd. (H78): 2.41%
  10. Dz Bk Ag ( Wts/Rts ): 2.34%

#9: Vanguard Real Estate ETF (VNQ)

VNQ follows the MSCI US REIT Index which is a benchmark of U.S. property trusts that covers about two-thirds of the value of the entire U.S. REIT market.  The fund was launched in September 2004. The expense ratio is .12%. AUM equal $10.7 billion and average daily trading volume is 1.8M shares. As of early March 2012 the annual dividend yield is 3.34% and YTD return 6.71%. The one year return was 11.00%.

IYR (iShares Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate ETF) follows the index of the same name. Risks for the sector are higher due to most assets consist of REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) which are much more volatile and economically sensitive. It's said that over the next 5 years REITs have $3 trillion in outstanding debts due or to refinance. The fund was launched in June 2000. The expense ratio is .48%. AUM equal $3.7 billion while average daily trading volume is nearly 5.6M shares. As of early March 2012 the annual dividend yield is 3.60% and YTD performance 5.81%.  The one year return was 6.95%. 

Data as of December 2011

VNQ Top Ten Holdings & Weightings
  1. Simon Property Group Inc (SPG): 10.43%
  2. Public Storage (PSA): 5.38%
  3. Equity Residential (EQR): 4.66%
  4. HCP Inc (HCP): 4.65%
  5. Ventas Inc (VTR): 4.16%
  6. Boston Properties Inc (BXP): 4.03%
  7. ProLogis Inc (PLD): 3.62%
  8. Vornado Realty Trust (VNO): 3.52%
  9. AvalonBay Communities Inc (AVB): 3.38%
  10. Host Hotels & Resorts Inc (HST): 2.87%