Update: SPDR® S&P US Dividend Aristocrats UCITS ETF

Dieser Dividenden-ETF schüttet quartalsregelmässig aus. In Zeiten extrem tiefer Zinsen sind Ausschüttungsrenditen von gut 2,7% nicht zu verachten.

Caroline Gutman 07.11.2014

Rolle im Portfolio

The SPDR S&P US Dividend Aristocrats ETF provides exposure to a subset of the U.S. equity market focusing on companies that have been consistent in paying out dividends to shareholders.

The S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats index weights its constituents by dividend yield, and as such creates a bias towards value stocks. A stock stylised as value in the Morningstar Style Box has slower growth (low growth rates for earnings, sales, book value and cash flow) and typically a higher yield than other large-cap stocks.

The fund could be suitable as a core holding. However, investors should be mindful of sector concentration, with 20-22% of its total value in financial stocks. At the security level though, the fund is more broadly diversified, with holdings limited to 4% each.

Since 2004, the S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index has experienced almost identical volatility to the broader S&P 500 Index, at 14.7%. During the same period it has shown a correlation to the S&P 500 of 86%. This fund, which pays out quarterly dividends could be suitable for investors looking for regular income while maintaining exposure to equities. 

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Fundamentale Analyse

This ETF is part of a growing cohort of strategic beta funds that eschew market capitalisation in favour of alternative weighting methodologies; in this case, yield.

While many investors chase capital gains, historically much of the total return from equities has come in the form of dividends. Within the U.S. market, as measured by the S&P 500 over the last 70 years, dividends have accounted for 30% to 60% of the returns from investing in stocks depending on the periods. A policy of regularly paying out earnings can discipline corporate management and reduce the chance of unprofitable acquisitions.

Historically, value stocks have offered better risk-adjusted returns than their growth counterparts, but they can remain out of favour for years. An issue for dividend-paying stocks at the moment is a potential increase in interest rates. Dividend-paying stocks tend to outperform in stable or declining-rate environments but struggle when rates are on an upswing. When rates rise, a company's cash flow must be discounted at a higher rate. All stocks are affected, but if the economy is booming, stable dividend-paying stocks will not generate as much investor demand as riskier stocks from cyclical and speculative sectors. When rates rise because the economy is growing at a healthy clip, defensive-sector stocks in particular become an expensive trade.

Because of its concentration of mature companies that tend to pay regular dividends, such as AT&T and McDonald’sthat have more consistent revenue and income, the S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index is likely to outperform the S&P 500 in times of market stress, and correspondingly could be expected to underperform in strong bull markets. For instance, the S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Net Total Return Index suffered less during the financial crisis, losing “only” 24% in the whole of 2008, while the S&P 500 TR fell by 37%. However, when the equity market rebounded in 2009, the S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats TR Index regained 17.3%, versus 26.5% for the S&P 500.

Because it is difficult to sustain growth once a company reaches a certain size, giant-cap stocks are still significantly underweighted in the High Yield Dividend Aristocrats index compared to S&P 500 Index and the Morningstar large-cap value category overall. The S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index had a dividend yield of 2.75% as of September 2014, versus a yield of 2.04% for the S&P 500 as of June 2014.

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The S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index is weighted by dividend yield, calculated by taking the total dividend payment from the previous 12 months and dividing by the stock price on the calculation date. The weighting of any one stock is capped at 4% at the time of the quarterly rebalancing. The index contains stocks selected from the universe of securities within the S&P 1500, and employs screens to ensure minimum size and trading volume. Rather than focusing only on the highest yielding stocks, the index seeks those with a record of consistency of dividend growth. To be considered for the index, companies must have increased their dividend for at least 20 consecutive years. Previously, the index was only made up of the top 60 ranked stocks, but a methodology change in 2012 made all qualifying stocks eligible for inclusion, and the index now consists of 95 companies. A committee maintains the index, rebalancing quarterly and making changes as needed. If a constituent falls out of line with any of the index’s entrance criteria, the committee can use its discretion to keep it in the index if the change is deemed temporary. This limits portfolio turnover. The top sector exposures are financials (20-22%), consumer staples (16-18%), industrials (13-15%), materials, utilities and consumer discretionary (all at 10-12%). The top constituents are AT&T, HCP, Con Edison and People’s United Financial, all with weights between 2 and 3%.

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The fund uses full physical replication to try to capture the performance of the S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Net Total Return Index, owning – to the extent possible and efficient – shares in all of the underlying constituents in the same weights as those of the index. The fund uses futures for cash equitisation purposes, which helps to limit tracking error. In the 12 months through the end of March 2014, the fund had not participated in securities lending.

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The fund’s total expense ratio (TER) is 0.30%, which is comparable to other funds offering exposure to large-cap value stocks in the US. However, the positive tracking difference (fund return – index return) since inception in October 2011 suggests that the TER is fully offset by revenues generated from tax enhancements. Other costs typically carried by the unitholder include bid-ask spreads and brokerage fees when buy and sell orders are placed for ETF shares.

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There are a number of dividend-enhancing ETFs that offer exposure to the US and North America including iShares DJ US Select Dividend (DE), db x-trackers MSCI North America High Dividend Yield (DR) ETF and iShares MSCI USA Dividend IQ. Of these, the iShares DJ US Select Dividend ETF has the lowest fees, with a TER of 0.31%.

Two other alternatives are Lyxor ETF Russell 1000 Value, which does not specifically target high dividend payers, and PowerShares FTSE RAFI US 1000 Fund, which uses fundamental indexing.

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Über den Autor

Caroline Gutman  ist Fondsanalystin bei Morningstar.