Full disclosure right off the bat. I own shares of the PowerShares S&P 500 High Dividend Low Volatility ETF (SPHD). I have for years, and it remains one of my favorite dividend ETFs. But the market just hasn’t been kind to funds, such as SPHD, lately. In an environment that favors growth and momentum names, funds that focus on more mature, boring large-cap dividend payers have been left behind.
The only group of dividend payers that has managed to keep up with the S&P 500 lately has been the dividend aristocrats. Since the end of 2016, the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG), the ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF (NOBL) and the iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF (DGRO) - all funds that invest in companies with long track records of paying and growing their dividends - has largely matched the S&P 500’s returns, although the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY) is a notable laggard.
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