Under The Hood: A Closer Look at International Mid-Cap ETFs
For one reason or another many global mid-cap ETFs go unloved, unheralded or unknown. Obviously, ETFs tracking international large-caps have proven highly successful and global small-cap funds have become popular with investors, but what about the mid-cap funds?
Well, that's often a different story altogether. There are plenty of mid-cap ETFs with a global flair on the market today, but some have struggled to captivate investors while others just fly under the radar. One that falls into the latter category is the WisdomTree International MidCap Dividend Fund (NYSE: DIM).
The WisdomTree International MidCap Dividend Fund has been around for nearly six years and in that time has hauled in almost $103 million in assets under management. By the all-important AUM metric, DIM is doing pretty well.
One knock against DIM is its yield. Obviously, with "dividend" in its name, DIM could be an attractive option for investors looking for international mid-cap exposure. The disappointment comes in the form of a distribution yield of just 1.64% and a 30-day SEC yield of just 2.79%. A better distribution yield could be had with any number of U.S. equity-based ETFs or high-grade corporate bond funds.
DIM is up almost 9% year-to-date, but that performance has lagged that of the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY) by nearly 2%. Figuring out why DIM has lagged U.S. stocks this year isn't difficult. The answer lies in the ETF's country composition. Japan accounts for almost 24.5% of the funds weight, while the U.K., which is arguably in a recession, receives an allocation of almost 16%.
After Australia's 12.2% allocation, no other country has a double-digit weight, but that's not the issue. The issue is DIM's exposure to Europe. DIM features allocations to 20 countries. Including the U.K., 15 of those nations are in Europe and nine of those 15 are Euro Zone members. All of the PIIGS except for Greece are represented in DIM and the ETF's combined Euro Zone exposure is roughly 20%.
In other words, it's arguably impressive DIM is up as much as it is this year. At the sector level, industrials and financials combine for about 45% of DIM's weight while consumer discretionary (14.5%) and materials (10.3%) names also figure prominently.
The large weights to financials and discretionary names should be a driver of DIM's returns in a risk on environment, but given the fund's European exposure, the opposite may be true in the near-term. With European economic growth almost an oxymoron, it's hard to envision a flight to bank and discretionary stocks in that corner of the globe at the moment.
The same can probably be said of Japan. Investors have been waiting on a legitimate rebound in the Japanese equities for what seems like an eternity. All of this is to say that DIM isn't by no means a "bad" ETF. It's not. It's just quite vulnerable to global macroeconomic headline risk over the near- to medium-term.
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