Stock Market

Are you looking for a reasonable amount of income without a ton of risk? If so, high-yield ETFs to buy are a better way to go than individual dividend-paying stocks because they give you diversification, which significantly reduces company risk in the process.  

If one investor considers a stock to have a high yield, another might view it as mediocre. So, a good place to start when setting a minimum is to consider benchmark indexes and their yields. 

The S&P 500 currently has an average yield of 1.53%. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that most investors wouldn’t consider the index’s yield very high. The current dividend yield of the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index is 2.38%, 85 basis points higher than the S&P 500. 

Setting the bar at a minimum dividend yield of 2.38% or more is a good place to start the search. However, some investors might look for ETFs for high returns with the summer heating up. The Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index comprises 100 of the highest dividend-yielding U.S. stocks (except REITs). The iShares Select Dividend ETF (NASDAQ:DVY), which tracks the performance of this index, currently yields 3.71%.  

So, I’ve selected three dividend ETFs to buy with a yield of 3.71% or higher.  

iShares Core High Dividend ETF (HDV)

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iShares Core High Dividend ETF (NYSEARCA:HDV) is an income-lover’s delight. It tracks the performance of the Morningstar Dividend Yield Focus Index, a collection of 75 dividend-paying, high-quality U.S. stocks. The stocks in the index are selected from the broader Morningstar US Market Index, which represents 97% of the market capitalization of U.S.-listed stocks.

Measures used to select the stocks include above-average returns on capital, a competitive advantage or “moat,” and a low Distance to Default, which measures the likelihood of a company defaulting on its obligations. It is an all-cap fund that selects small, mid, and large-cap stocks. 

While the ETF can invest in any size of company, 83% of its $10.5 billion in net assets are invested in large-cap value and large-cap blend stocks. The average market cap is $128.2 billion, $19 billion higher than the category average. The top three sectors by weight are healthcare (25.63%), energy (24.62%), and financials (10.77%).

Two of the most important facts about HDV? First, it yields 4.2%, and second, it has a management expense ratio of just 0.08%. 

Due to its minimal tech weighting, its returns over the past five years have been considerably less than the S&P 500.

Invesco High Yield Equity Dividend Achievers ETF (PEY)


The Invesco High Yield Equity Dividend Achievers ETF (NYSEARCA:PEY) is not having a good year in the markets. It’s down nearly 7%. However, the 4.5% yield helps take the sting off the poor year. 

So, what do I see in the $1.34 billion ETF? 

PEY tracks the performance of the NASDAQ US Dividend Achievers 50 Index. These 50 stocks have the highest modified yield from the broader NASDAQ US Broad Dividend Achievers Index. And these are the companies that have increased their annual dividend for 10 consecutive years or more and have a market cap over $1 billion.

The index and fund are reconstituted in March and rebalanced twice yearly in March, June, September, and December. gives it five stars out of 267 funds over the past 10 years. 

The top three sectors by weight are financials (25.37%), utilities (18.61%), and consumer staples (13.62%). The top three holdings by weight are Telephone and Data Systems (NYSE:TDS), VF (NYSE:VFC), and Lincoln National (NYSE:LNC). All three have weights well above 4%. The lowest of the 50 holdings is Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB) at 1.27%. 

Over the long haul, you’ll do well with this high-yield ETF.

Vanguard International High Dividend Yield Index ETF (VYMI)

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I wanted at least one international ETF in my selections, so the Vanguard International High Dividend Yield Index ETF (NASDAQ:VYMI) makes total sense. 

VYMI tracks the performance of the FTSE All-World ex US High Dividend Yield Index, a collection of international stocks that are expected to have above-average dividend yields. Sometimes, a higher dividend yield is a sign a company’s fundamentals are weakening. Other times, however, it indicates a business generating significant free cash flow.

Charging a reasonable 0.22%, VYMI has an attractive 4.5% yield, generating a one-year gain of 11.0%.

The ETF’s 1,351 holdings have a median market cap of $39.3 billion, a five-year earnings growth rate of 7.8%, and a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.4x. 

VYMI has $5.8 billion in net assets. Emerging markets account for 22.30% of the portfolio, with developed markets accounting for 77.70%. The top three countries by weight are Japan (13.50%), the United Kingdom (12.70%), and Australia (7.70%). It does not hold any U.S. stocks. 

While home-country bias isn’t as big a deal in the U.S. — where the domestic market accounts for 41.1% of the world’s equity market cap — it’s something to consider when constructing a core portfolio of ETFs. VYMI can help in this regard. 

On the date of publication, Will Ashworth did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Will Ashworth has written about investments full-time since 2008. Publications where he’s appeared include InvestorPlace, The Motley Fool Canada, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and several others in both the U.S. and Canada. He particularly enjoys creating model portfolios that stand the test of time. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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