The most recent terrorist attacks in Paris have not had a major effect on European stock markets this week. The MSCI Europe Index had retreated a bit even before the assault in France. But that retreat has not fully offset the more than 7% rise in European stocks in October.
True, the economy remains sluggish, but that will likely encourage more easing by the European Central Bank. Given that the potential ECB easing may be combined with Federal Reserve tightening, European stocks could do well in the months ahead.
For advisors and their clients who favor dividend-paying equities, a number of ETFs focus on such stocks across Europe. As is usually the case, they differ greatly in approach. Here are some choices:
First Trust STOXX Europe Dividend Index Trust (FDD) is based on a 30-stock subset of the STOXX Europe 600 index. To qualify, stocks must have a five-year positive dividend growth rate and pay 60% or less of earnings in dividends. Stocks are sorted by country and ranked by dividend yield. The index is dividend-weighted.
Deutsche X-Trackers MSCI Eurozone High Dividend Yield Hedged Equity ETF (HDEZ) tracks an underlying index that requires consistent dividend payments and screens for quality factors including ROE, earnings variability and debt to equity. The highest-yielding issues are included, and the index is weighted by market cap. Currency is hedged.
O’Shares FTSE Europe Quality Dividend ETF (OEUR) seeks to replicate an index of European stocks whose constituents are determined by quality, volatility and yield factors. Quality is determined by return on assets, leverage and other elements. Volatility is measured by the standard deviation of five years of weekly total returns in local currency. Yield is weighed by the logarithm of each company’s 12-month trailing dividend yield. Positions are capped at 5%.
O’Shares FTSE Europe Quality Dividend Hedged ETF (OEUH) holds the same portfolio as the O’Shares FTSE Europe Quality Dividend ETF, but with currencies hedged.
ProShares MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF (EUDV) tracks the MSCI Europe Dividend Masters Index, which holds stocks of 25 or more large- and mid-cap companies that have boosted dividends for at least 10 consecutive years. There are caps on sectors and countries, and the portfolio is equal weighted.
WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity (HEDJ) is based on an index of dividend-paying stocks domiciled in Europe and traded in euros. Stocks must have a market cap of at least $1 billion and derive at least 50% of revenues from outside Europe. There are caps on individual issues, sectors and countries. The portfolio is weighted by cash dividends and is currency hedged.
WisdomTree Europe Hedged SmallCap Equity (EUSC) tracks an index of European dividend payers, traded in euros, that are in the bottom 10% of the WisdomTree International Equity Index. There are caps on individual issues, sectors and countries. The portfolio is weighted by cash dividends and is currency hedged.
WisdomTree SmallCap Europe Dividend Fund (DFE) tracks the bottom 25% of the WisdomTree International Equity Index after the 300 largest-capitalization companies are removed. The portfolio is weighted by cash dividends and is not hedged.
WisdomTree Europe Quality Dividend Growth Fund (EUDG) underlying index does not actually require dividend growth, despite its name. “Growth” here refers to long-term earnings expectations. There is also a quality screen that looks at three-year historical ROA and ROE. The underlying index uses these factors to select 300 stocks from the WisdomTree International Equity Index. The portfolio is weighted by cash dividends and is not hedged.
These ETFs provide advisors with numerous alternatives: currency hedged or exposed; small-cap or large; quality screened or all-inclusive. The choice is yours.
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