Under-The-Radar ETF Yield Plays (EWM, FEZ, REMX)
Earlier this month, we we looked at some ETFs with what appeared to be appealing dividend yields, but also had the feeling of more yield trap than legitimate value play.
In the essence of fairness and to get the week started out on a positive note, we went searching for yield surprises in the ETF universe. Since the point of the exercise was to unearth under-the-radar yield plays, we had to set some parameters.
First, bond funds and MLP ETFs and ETNs were excluded. Second, the yield qualifier for this list is 4% or higher. Third, all of the funds highlighted here have average daily volume of 50,000 shares or more so investors will not be punished with wide bid/ask spreads in their yield hunts.
Here's what we turned up.
iShares MSCI Poland Investable Market Index Fund (NYSE: EPOL) Sure, Poland's economy may be smaller than Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) market cap, but there are still good reasons to invest in the Eastern European emerging economy. EPOL has a serious rivalry going with the Market Vectors Poland ETF (NYSE: PLND) and both ETFs have moved in lockstep with each other this year. The tiebreaker goes to EPOL, which yields 4.7% compared to 3.6% for PLND.
SPDR EURO STOXX 50 ETF (NYSE: FEZ) When it comes to ETFs focused on blue chips hailing from developed European countries, the Vanguard MSCI Europe ETF (NYSE: VGK) gets the bulk of the attention. That fund is home to almost 460 stocks and nearly $7 billion in AUM.
For those that can stomach a smaller approach to developed Europe, the SPDR EURO STOXX 50 is worth a look. The ETF is home to 55 stocks and almost $453 million in AUM and sports a yield of 4.67%. That is 50 basis higher than VGK's. FEZ's 25% allocation to financials might explain the difference in yield and the ETF's slight outperformance of its Vanguard rival this year.
Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (NYSE: REMX) With regards to the Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF, we're merely going where the data took us, not endorsing the ETF as an income play for grandparents. Believe it or not, this high beta fund not yields almost 5.5% and that's with a year-to-date gain of almost 15%. With China running the show when it comes to the global rare earths export situation, that's an 800-pound gorilla investors need to think about before getting involved with REMX.
On the other hand, REMX's chart has improved recently and if the ETF can gain another 3.5% to reclaim its 200-day line, it could run back to the low $20s.
iShares MSCI Malaysia Index Fund (NYSE: EWM) This one was kind of a surprise because Malaysia isn't typically thought of as a yield, but here is the iShares MSCI Malaysia Index Fund with a yield of 4.1%. Another surprise: EWM actually has a lower beta than the S&P 500. EWM has been working to regain some lost glory and at this point, it's probably going to take a move above $15 to confirm an extended rally for the ETF.
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