NEW YORK (ETF Expert) -- In simpler investing times, an investor purchased Treasury bonds for their reliable income stream. Today, the only reason to buy iShares 7-10 Year Treasury (IEF - Get Report) is for the potential that worldwide demand can push yields lower and prices higher.Similarly, there once was a time when dividends in technology stocks were a mere afterthought. You bought Apple ( AAPL - Get Report) because it might go from $50 per share to $100; you accumulated shares of Microsoft ( MSFT - Get Report) because you believed that it would travel from $15 to $30. However, the technology stock landscape is changing rapidly. Many large-cap tech mainstays that did not offer dividends for decades are now serving up 2%+ yields. In an environment where a 10-year note produces a meager 1.75%, this "freebie" is fast becoming a critical component for total return. For those who are less inclined to pick individual standouts, First Trust NASDAQ Technology Dividend ( TDIV - Get Report) may combine the best of stable tech brands and impressive dividend growth. What's more, TDIV may have a compelling argument for equity income enthusiasts. Traditional dividend funds and dividend ETFs typically rely on defensive economic sectors like utilities and consumer staples. Unfortunately, in an ultra-low rate environment, these segments may trade at an expensive premium; non-cyclicals can easily fall out of favor. It follows that equity income investors with traditional holdings should consider bolstering dividend-oriented tech in their portfolios to hedge against "yield myopia" and/or sharp sector rotations. The idea has been catching on quickly. In roughly 4 1/2 months, TDIV has accumulated nearly $50 million in assets under management. And why not? Cash-rich behomoths from Microsoft to Intel ( INTC - Get Report) to Oracle ( ORCL - Get Report) to Cisco ( CSCO - Get Report) are undoubtedly capable of paying up. First Trust NASDAQ Technology Dividend tracks an index that yields roughly 3%, though it carries an expense ratio of 0.5%. The probability of uneven distributions makes it difficult to gauge the exact payout across a 12-month span, though the 30-day SEC yield of 2.19% and the December payment suggest 2.25%-2.5% annually. TDIV's relative strength is evident when one compares the new exchange-traded vehicle with the grand-daddy of tech ETFs, Technology Select Sector SPDR ( XLK - Get Report). The current price on the TDIV:XLK price ratio is at the top of its range and it is well above a 50-day trendline.
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