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Going Abroad Pays Dividends for
This ETF

Only foreign companies that consistently increase payouts qualify for the PowerShares International Dividend Achievers ETF.

How many companies based overseas have boosted their dividends in each of the past five years and trade on Nasdaq or the New York or London stock exchanges? Just 64, at last report. And you’ll find all of them in PowerShares International Dividend Achievers ETF and the benchmark it tracks, the International Dividend Achievers index.

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The index's membership is reconfigured every January, says Joe Becker, of Invesco PowerShares. Any company that failed to increase its payout in the previous 12 months gets the boot, and any firm that is newly qualified is added to the index. Stocks with the highest yields receive a bigger allocation in the index. And at the end of every quarter, the weightings are updated, again by yield.

Most of the firms that fit the mandate for the index happen to fall in the communication-services sector -- 27% of the ETF's assets are in that group (the fund has no sector-weighting limits or requirements). The fund also holds big stakes in energy stocks (19%), makers of consumer necessities (12%) and health care stocks (11%).


Despite holding only dividend payers, the fund has been about as volatile as the benchmark MSCI EAFE index over the past five years. But the dividends have certainly helped the fund's performance. Over five years, the ETF outpaced the EAFE index by an average of 2.7 percentage points per year.