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However much work you put into choosing exchange-traded funds, you’ll need to up your game in the Canadian dividend category.

As documented in this fifth instalment of the 2024 Globe and Mail ETF Buyer’s Guide, dividend funds vary a lot in the sectors they emphasize in their portfolios and thus in their returns and dividend yields. More than ever, it’s vital to decide it you’re using dividend ETFs for dividend income primarily or for total returns of dividends plus share price appreciation.

Top yields can come from the funds with weaker returns. Remember, falling share prices drive yields higher, and vice versa. Quite a few big blue-chip dividend stocks have slumped badly in the past year or more, hurting returns from dividend ETFs that hold a significant weighting in them.

The average yield for the funds listed in the guide is 4.1 per cent, up from 3.8 per cent last year. Higher-yielding funds this year are at or close to 5 per cent.

The 2024 edition of the ETF Buyer’s Guide wraps up later in April by looking at asset allocation funds, which offer a well-diversified portfolio in a single ETF. The guide has already covered Canadian, U.S. and international equity funds, as well as bond funds.

Here’s a discussion of terms used in this edition of the ETF Buyer’s Guide:

Assets: Shown to give you a sense of how interested other investors are in a fund.

Management expense ratio (MER): The main cost of owning an ETF on a continuing basis; published returns are shown on an after-fee basis.

Trading expense ratio (TER): The cost of trading commissions racked up by the managers of an ETF as they make adjustments to the portfolio of investments; add the TER to the MER for a full picture of a fund’s cost.

Yield: Based on the recent pattern of monthly payouts and the latest share price; may reflect payments of dividends and return of capital; check the fund profiles on ETF issuer websites to find out what kinds of income have been contained in distributions in recent years.

50-day trading volume: Average number of shares traded daily over the previous 50 days; it’s easier to buy and sell at competitive prices if an ETF is heavily traded.

Returns: ETF companies show total returns or share-price change plus dividends or distributions.

Download the source excel here.

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Tickers mentioned in this story

Study and track financial data on any traded entity: click to open the full quote page. Data updated as of 24/05/24 1:14pm EDT.

SymbolName% changeLast
BMO Canadian Dividend ETF
CI Wisdomtree CDN Qlty Div Grth Idx ETF
Dyn Ishares Active CDN Div ETF
GX Canadian High Div Idx Corp Cls ETF
Invesco CDN Div Idx ETF
Ishares S&P TSX CDN Dividend ETF
Ishares S&P TSX Comp High Div Index ETF
Ishares Core MSCI CAD Qlty Div ETF
RBC Quant CDN Dividend Leaders ETF
Vanguard FTSE CDN High Div Yld Index ETF

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