Top 10 Large-Cap International ETFs

NEW YORK ( ETF Digest) -- There's a fast-growing number of international ETPs, with some only recently being issued. The large-cap sector understandably attracts the most initial investor interest given well-established indices which are familiar to more investors and perceived as safer plays. Currently, there are about 40 issues available with not all of them seasoned yet. The issues that comprise our listing are from a variety of issuers including: iShares, SPDRs, Van Eck, Schwab, Guggenheim, WisdomTree and so forth. These are linked to proprietary indices or Dow Jones, S&P, Russell, Van Eck and others.

Over the past few years, there has been a push and desire to add more international issues to investor portfolios. This has occurred because many developing countries are experiencing higher economic growth rates than more developed countries.

Demographics in some emerging markets are superior given a younger population making the consumer sector compelling as well as infrastructure needs. However, historically many international markets have higher volatility characteristics than more established sectors. In 2011, a global debt crisis emerged causing many developed nation's markets, particularly in Europe, to experience unusually high volatility and underperformance. This is something that has negatively affected many of the featured ETFs in this category only to see them recover currently. But the crisis relief may be temporary only to return later.

Irrespective of recent market performance we rank the top 10 ETFs more by their structure as opposed to current performance.

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 low and sell for other reasons when high; but, this is not our approach.

Members to the ETF Digest receive added signals when markets become extended such as DeMark triggers to exit overbought/oversold conditions. These are highlighted by blue box images in many of the charts that follow.

For traders and investors wishing to hedge, leveraged and inverse issues are available to utilize from ProShares and Direxion and where available these are noted.

#10: PowerShares FTSE RAFI Developed Markets ETF (PXF)

PXF follows the FTSE RAFI Developed Markets ex-U.S. Index. The Index is designed to track the performance of the largest developed market equities (excluding the U.S.), selected based on the following four fundamental measures of firm size: book value, income, sales and dividends.

The fund was launched in June 2007. The expense ratio is .75%. AUM equal $295 million and average daily trading volume is 54K shares. As of mid-March 2012 the annual dividend yield was 1.94% and YTD return was 15.15%. The one year return was -4.22%.

Data as of the First Quarter 2012

PXF Top Ten Holdings & Weightings
  1. BP PLC (BP.): 2.17%
  2. Vodafone Group PLC (VODPF): 1.64%
  3. Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA): 1.57%
  4. Total SA (FP): 1.52%
  5. ING Groep N.V. (INGA): 1.48%
  6. HSBC Holdings PLC (HBCYF): 1.47%
  7. Royal Dutch Shell PLC B (RDSB): 1.22%
  8. GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GLAXF): 1.03%
  9. Nestle SA (NESN): 0.97%
  10. Banco Santander SA (SAN): 0.97%

#9: Wisdom Tree International Dividend ex-Financials ETF (DOO)

DOO follows the Wisdom Tree International Dividend ex-Financials Index.The Index measures the performance of high dividend-yielding international stocks outside the financial sector. The index consists primarily of large- and mid-capitalization companies incorporated in Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore that pass WisdomTree Investments market capitalization, liquidity and selection requirements.

The fund was launched in June 2006. The expense ratio is .58%. AUM equal $344 million and average trading volume (commission free at ETrade) is 89K shares. As of mid-March 2012 the annual dividend yield was 4.52% and YTD return was 6.24%. The one year return was 2.38%.

Data as of the First Quarter 2012

DOO Top Ten Holdings & Weightings
  1. Telstra Corp Ltd (TTRAF): 3.61%
  2. Belgacom SA (BELG): 2.07%
  3. Nokia Oyj (NOK1V): 1.82%
  4. RWE AG (RWE): 1.79%
  5. Amcor Limited (AMC): 1.71%
  6. SembCorp Marine Ltd. (S51): 1.67%
  7. France Telecom SA (FTE): 1.61%
  8. E.ON Aktiengesellschaft AG (EOAN): 1.58%
  9. Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (CCL): 1.56%
  10. Antofagasta PLC (ANTO): 1.56%

 

#8: Wisdom Tree DEFA ETF (DWM)

DWM follows the Wisdom Tree Dividend Index of Europe, Far East Asia and Australasia. The Index is a fundamentally weighted Index that measures the performance of dividend-paying companies in the industrialized world, excluding Canada and the United States, that pay regular cash dividends and that meet other liquidity and capitalization requirements. It is comprised of companies incorporated in 16 developed European countries, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. Companies are weighted in the Index based on annual cash dividends paid.

The fund was launched in June 2006. The expense ratio is .48%. AUM equal $325 million and average daily trading volume is 60K shares. As of mid-March 2012 the annual dividend yield was 3.11% and YTD return was 12.07% (reversing a 13% loss from December 2011). The one year return was .24%.

Data as of the First Quarter 2012

DWM Top Ten Holdings & Weightings
  1. Vodafone Group PLC (VODPF): 1.79%
  2. China Mobile Ltd. (00941): 1.73%
  3. Telefonica SA (TEF): 1.60%
  4. Total SA (FP): 1.57%
  5. Nestle SA (NESN): 1.45%
  6. GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GLAXF): 1.43%
  7. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA): 1.36%
  8. Westpac Banking Corp (WBC): 1.32%
  9. Roche Holding AG (RHHVF): 1.30%
  10. Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA): 1.29%

#7: Schwab International Equity ETF (SCHF)

SCHF follows the FTSE Developed ex-U.S. Index which is comprised of approximately 85% large-cap stocks and 15% mid-cap stocks from more than 20 developed international markets. The fund was launched in November 2009. The expense ratio is .13% putting it at the low end of such charges. AUM equal $770 million and average daily trading volume is 202K shares. (Schwab clients trade commission free at Schwab).

As of mid-March 2012 the annual dividend yield was 2.89% and YTD return was 12.51%. The one year return was -.35%.

Data as of the First Quarter 2012

SCHF Top Ten Holdings & Weightings
  1. Nestle SA (NESN): 1.63%
  2. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (SSNHY): 1.22%
  3. HSBC Holdings PLC (HBCYF): 1.21%
  4. BP Plc (BP.): 1.13%
  5. Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA): 1.02%
  6. Vodafone Group PLC (VODPF): 0.98%
  7. Novartis AG (NVSEF): 0.95%
  8. Total SA (FP): 0.93%
  9. BHP Billiton Limited (BHPLF): 0.93%
  10. Roche Holding AG (RHHVF): 0.89%

#6: SPDR S&P International Dividend ETF (DWX)

DWX follows the S&P International Dividend Opportunities Index which generally includes 100 tradable, exchanged listed common stocks from around the world that offer high dividend yields. The fund was launched in February 2008. The expense ratio is .45%. AUM equal $847M and average daily trading volume is 286K shares.

As of mid-March 2012 the annual dividend yield was 6.49% and YTD return was 9.68%. The one year return was -3.64%.

Data as of the First Quarter 2012

DWX Top Ten Holdings & Weightings
  1. ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG (PSM): 3.35%
  2. SembCorp Marine Ltd. (S51): 3.29%
  3. Komercni Banka A.S. (0IKH): 3.28%
  4. Admiral Group Plc Common Stock Gbp.001: 3.22%
  5. Kumba Iron Ore Limited (KIO): 3.19%
  6. Aviva Plc Common Stock Gbp.25: 3.18%
  7. Peugeot (UG): 3.13%
  8. Eregli Demir Ve Celik Fabrikalari Turk Anonim Sirketi (EREGL): 3.13%
  9. E.ON Aktiengesellschaft (EOAN): 3.01%
  10. David Jones Limited (DJS): 3.01%

#5: iShares DJ EPAC Dividend ETF (IDV)

IDV follows the Dow Jones EPAC Select Dividend Index which measures the performance of a selected group of companies that have provided relatively high dividend yields on a consistent basis over time. The fund was launched in June 2007.

The expense ratio is .50%. AUM equal $915 million and average daily trading volume is 354K shares. As of mid-March 2012 the annual dividend yield was 4.99% and YTD return was 11.05%. The one year return was 2.33%.

Data as of the First Quarter 2012

IDV Top Ten Holdings Weightings
  1. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA): 4.00%
  2. Eni SpA (ENI): 3.51%
  3. British American Tobacco PLC (BATS): 3.28%
  4. VTech Holdings Ltd. (VTKLF): 3.18%
  5. Neopost (NEO): 3.00%
  6. Opap S.A. (OPAP): 2.82%
  7. Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA): 2.41%
  8. Rwe AG (RWE): 2.17%
  9. National Australia Bank Limited (NAB): 2.07%
  10. SSE Plc. (SSEZF): 2.06%

#4: iShares MSCI Value ETF (EFV)

EFV follows the MSCI EAFE Value Index which measures the performance of stocks in European, Australasian, and Far Eastern markets that represent value characteristics. The fund was launched in August 2005. AUM is over $1.3 billion and average daily trading volume is 213K shares.

As of mid-March 2012 the annual dividend yield was 4.09% and YTD return was 11.92%. The one year return was -1.63%.

Data as of the First Quarter 2012

EFV Top Ten Holdings & Weightings
  1. HSBC Holdings PLC (HBCYF): 3.02%
  2. BP PLC (BP.): 2.85%
  3. Vodafone Group PLC (VODPF): 2.63%
  4. Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA): 2.51%
  5. Novartis AG (NVSEF): 2.44%
  6. Total SA (FP): 2.28%
  7. Royal Dutch Shell PLC Class B (RDSB): 1.93%
  8. Sanofi (SAN): 1.63%
  9. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA): 1.59%
  10. Banco Santander SA (SAN): 1.37%

#3: iShares MSCI Value ETF (EFG) EFG follows the MSCI Growth Index. This seems simplistic and obvious but MSCI doesn't release many details beyond these statements. The fund was launched in August 2005. The expense ratio is .53%. AUM equal $1.3 billion and average daily trading volume is nearly 131K shares. As of mid-March 2012 the annual dividend yield was 2.21% and YTD return was 13.50%.The one year return was 2.66%.

Data as of the First Quarter 2012

EFG Top Ten Holdings & Weightings
  1. Nestle SA (NESN): 2.48%
  2. BHP Billiton Ltd (BHPLF): 2.37%
  3. Roche Holding AG (RHHVF): 2.32%
  4. Toyota Motor Corp (7203): 2.13%
  5. British American Tobacco PLC (BATS): 1.89%
  6. BG Group PLC (BG.): 1.54%
  7. Basf SE (BFFAF): 1.52%
  8. GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GLAXF): 1.38%
  9. BHP Billiton PLC (BLT): 1.28%
  10. Standard Chartered PLC (STAN): 1.17%

#2: Vanguard Europe Pacific Profile (VEA) VEA follows the MSCI EAFE Index which measures the performance of equity markets in Europe, Australasian and Far Eastern markets. The fund was launched in July 2007. The expense ratio is .12% which is much lower than EFA following the same index. AUM equal $8 billion and average daily trading volume is over 2.5M shares. As of mid-March 2012 the annual dividend yield was 3.14% and YTD return was 12.37% (also reversing a large loss from YTD December 2011). The one year return was .47%. (Variations in returns reflect fee differences primarily.)

Data as of the First Quarter 2012

VEA Top Ten Holdings & Weightings
  1. Nestle SA (NESN): 2.00%
  2. Vodafone Group PLC (VODPF): 1.50%
  3. HSBC Holdings PLC (HBCYF): 1.44%
  4. BP Plc (BP.): 1.43%
  5. Novartis AG (NVSEF): 1.41%
  6. Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA): 1.37%
  7. Roche Holding AG (RHHVF): 1.26%
  8. BHP Billiton Limited (BHPLF): 1.23%
  9. GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GLAXF): 1.22%
  10. Total SA (FP): 1.14%

#1: iShares EAFE ETF (EFA)

EFA follows the MSCI EAFE Index which measures the performance of equity markets in Europe, Australasian and Far Eastern markets. The fund was launched in August 2008. The expense ratio is .35%. AUM (Assets under Management) equal $35 billion making it one of the largest ETFs by assets. Average daily trading volume is 27M shares.

As of mid-March 2012 the annual dividend yield was 3.11% and YTD return was 12.07% (reversing a 13% loss from December 2011). The one year return was .24%.

Data as of the First Quarter 2012

EFA Top Ten Holdings & Weightings
  1. Nestle SA (NESN): 1.92%
  2. HSBC Holdings PLC (HBCYF): 1.50%
  3. BP PLC (BP.): 1.42%
  4. Vodafone Group PLC (VODPF): 1.31%
  5. Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA): 1.27%
  6. Novartis AG (NVSEF): 1.22%
  7. BHP Billiton Ltd (BHPLF): 1.19%
  8. Roche Holding AG (RHHVF): 1.17%
  9. Total SA (FP): 1.13%
  10. Toyota Motor Corp (7203): 1.07%

We utilize our proprietary stars system as outlined below. If an ETF you're interested in is not included but you'd like to know a ranking send an inquiry to support@ETFDigest.com and we'll attempt to satisfy your interest.


Strong established linked index
Excellent consistent performance and index tracking
Low fee structure
Strong portfolio suitability
Excellent liquidity


Established linked index even if "enhanced"
Good performance or more volatile if "enhanced" index
Average to higher fee structure
Good portfolio suitability or more active management if "enhanced" index
Decent liquidity


Enhanced or seasoned index
Less consistent performance and more volatile
Fees higher than average
Portfolio suitability would need more active trading
Average to below average liquidity


Index is new
Issue is new and needs seasoning
Fees are high
Portfolio suitability also needs seasoning
Liquidity below average
As indicated there has been a big push to globalize investor portfolios and this hasn't been lost on ETF sponsors. Nevertheless when markets were in good shape this proved rewarding but when things went badly conditions were much worse in these markets. This is a major reason we rely on discipline and technical indicators to keep us out of harms way. It's also important to remember that ETF sponsors have their own competitive business interests when issuing products which may not necessarily align with your investment needs. New ETFs from highly regarded and substantial new providers are also being issued. These may include Charles Schwab's ETFs and Scottrade's Focus Shares which both are issuing new ETFs with low expense ratios and commission free trading at their respective firms. These may also become popular as they become seasoned. 

For further information about portfolio structures using technical indicators like DeMark and other indicators, take a free 14-day trial at ETF Digest . Follow us on Twitter and Facebook as well and join our group conversations.

You may address any feedback to: feedback@etfdigest.com   

The ETF Digest has positions in IDV, DOO and SCHF within the featured ETFs.

(Source for data is from ETF sponsors and various ETF data providers)  

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