Should Invesco Defensive Equity ETF (DEF) Be on Your Investing Radar?

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If you’re interested in broad exposure to the Large Cap Growth segment of the US equity market, look no further than the Invesco Defensive Equity ETF (DEF), a passively managed exchange traded fund launched on 12/15/2006.

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The fund is sponsored by Invesco. It has amassed assets over $251.63 million, making it one of the average sized ETFs attempting to match the Large Cap Growth segment of the US equity market.

Why Large Cap Growth

Companies that find themselves in the large cap category typically have a market capitalization above $10 billion. They tend to be stable companies with predictable cash flows and are usually less volatile than mid and small cap companies.

Qualities of growth stocks include faster growth rates compared to the broader market, as well as higher valuations and higher than average sales and earnings growth rates. Also, growth stocks are a type of equity that carries more risk compared to others. They are likely to outperform value stocks in strong bull markets but over the longer-term, value stocks have delivered better returns than growth stocks in almost all markets.

Costs

Expense ratios are an important factor in the return of an ETF and in the long term, cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive counterparts, other things remaining the same.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.55%, putting it on par with most peer products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.27%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

While ETFs offer diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk, a deep look into a fund’s holdings is a valuable exercise. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation to the Information Technology sector–about 25.90% of the portfolio. Healthcare and Industrials round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Amgen Inc (AMGN) accounts for about 1.06% of total assets, followed by Ebay Inc (EBAY) and Quest Diagnostics Inc (DGX).

The top 10 holdings account for about 10.46% of total assets under management.

Performance and Risk

DEF seeks to match the performance of the Guggenheim Defensive Equity Index before fees and expenses. The Guggenheim Defensive Equity Index is comprised of approximately 100 stocks selected from the S&P 500 Index based on investment and other screening criteria. The companies selected have potentially superior risk-return profiles during periods of stock market weakness while still offering the potential for gains during periods of market strength.

The ETF has added about 6.89% so far this year and was up about 36.56% in the last one year (as of 04/07/2021). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $47.14 and $62.40.

The ETF has a beta of 0.87 and standard deviation of 21.73% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 102 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.

Alternatives

Invesco Defensive Equity ETF carries a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 (Hold), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Thus, DEF is a sufficient option for those seeking exposure to the Style Box – Large Cap Growth area of the market. Investors might also want to consider some other ETF options in the space.

The Vanguard Growth ETF (VUG) and the Invesco QQQ (QQQ) track a similar index. While Vanguard Growth ETF has $71.15 billion in assets, Invesco QQQ has $160.73 billion. VUG has an expense ratio of 0.04% and QQQ charges 0.20%.

Bottom-Line

Passively managed ETFs are becoming increasingly popular with institutional as well as retail investors due to their low cost, transparency, flexibility and tax efficiency. They are excellent vehicles for long term investors.

To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center.

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