Japanese stocks have disappointed investors thus far in 2016, despite the Bank of Japan's attempt to stimulate the economy via negative interest rates.
Christopher Gannatti, associate director of research at WisdomTree, said investors should not give up on Japan because there are positive things going on beneath the surface especially when it comes to dividends.
"Last year you saw a lot of big dividend increases from March into April," said Gannatti.
The WisdomTree Japan Quality Dividend Growth ETF (JDG) is down 6% year-to-date. The fund owns well known Japanese corporations like NTT Docomo (NTDMF) , Japan Tobacco (JAPAF) and Toyota (TOYOF) .
WisdomTree also offers as hedged version of the fund (JHDG) which has dropped over 9% due to the 7.6% rise in the Yen versus the dollar over the past three months.
"Given the negative interest rates at the Bank of Japan, Japanese financial stocks have been challenged of late. It's one of the worst performing sectors in Japan and those two funds are currently being helped by their underweights of the sector," said Gannatti.
Gannatti suggested the WisdomTree High Dividend ETF (DHS) , up 6.6% thus far in 2016, for skeptical investors who believe stocks may end the year lower than they began even as volatility spikes. He said the WisdomTree High Dividend Index offers three characteristics that investors typically search for in choppy markets: defensive sector exposure, lower beta and a healthy dividend yield.
The High Dividend ETF sports a 3.5% dividend at last check. Holdings in the DHS include AT&T (T) , Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Verizon (VZ) .
"The value side of the spectrum has really come to the fore and led the way in 2016," said Gannatti. "DHS has that value sensitivity."
Another method for investors to protect their portfolios, and perhaps even profit, in a volatile, yet directionless market is via the WisdomTree Dynamic Long/Short U.S. Equity ETF (DYLS) , according to Gannatti. That fund is up almost 5% since its early January launch.