Technology

Is WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend ETF (DFJ) a Strong ETF Right Now?

Launched on 06/16/2006, the WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend ETF (DFJ) is a smart beta exchange traded fund offering broad exposure to the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs category of the market.

What Are Smart Beta ETFs?

The ETF industry has traditionally been dominated by products based on market capitalization weighted indexes that are designed to represent the market or a particular segment of the market.

Market cap weighted indexes offer a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, and are a good option for investors who believe in market efficiency.

But, there are some investors who would rather invest in smart beta funds; these funds track non-cap weighted strategies, and are a strong option for those who prefer choosing great stocks in order to beat the market.

By attempting to pick stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance, non-cap weighted indexes are based on certain fundamental characteristics, or a combination of such.

Even though this space provides many choices to investors--think one of the simplest methodologies like equal-weighting and more complicated ones like fundamental and volatility/momentum based weighting--not all have been able to deliver first-rate results.

Fund Sponsor & Index

The fund is sponsored by Wisdomtree. It has amassed assets over $227.88 million, making it one of the average sized ETFs in the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs. Before fees and expenses, this particular fund seeks to match the performance of the WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Index.

WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Index measures the performance of dividend-paying small capitalization companies in Japan. After the 300 largest companies have been removed from the WisdomTree Japan Dividend Index, the remaining companies are chosen for inclusion in the Index. Companies are weighted in the Index based on annual cash dividends paid.

Cost & Other Expenses

Since cheaper funds tend to produce better results than more expensive funds, assuming all other factors remain equal, it is important for investors to pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio.

Operating expenses on an annual basis are 0.58% for this ETF, which makes it one of the more expensive products in the space.

DFJ's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 2.82%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure which minimizes single stock risk, it is still important to look into a fund's holdings before investing. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

Taking into account individual holdings, Haseko Corp accounts for about 1.46% of the fund's total assets, followed by Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co Inc and Matsui Securities Co Ltd.

DFJ's top 10 holdings account for about 7.76% of its total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

The ETF has lost about -12.70% so far this year and was up about 0.27% in the last one year (as of 08/04/2020). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $49.20 and $75.84.

The ETF has a beta of 0.69 and standard deviation of 20.12% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 797 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.

JPMorgan BetaBuilders Japan ETF (BBJP) tracks MORNINGSTAR JAPAN TRGT MRKT EXPOSURE ID and the iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ) tracks MSCI Japan Index. JPMorgan BetaBuilders Japan ETF has $4.83 billion in assets, iShares MSCI Japan ETF has $9.66 billion. BBJP has an expense ratio of 0.19% and EWJ charges 0.49%.

Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Asia-Pacific (Developed) ETFs.

Bottom Line

To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center.


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WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend ETF (DFJ): ETF Research Reports

iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ): ETF Research Reports

JPMorgan BetaBuilders Japan ETF (BBJP): ETF Research Reports

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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