May ETF Flows: A Time For Bond Funds
ETF investors poured money into fixed income last month, partly offsetting the effects of the 6.2 percent drop in U.S. stocks that was fueled by renewed concern Europe's problems risked polluting the entire global economy. Overall, flows into U.S.-listed ETF assets were $4.11 billion, but after the market's losses, assets fell about 5 percent to $1.137 trillion.
Seven of last month's most-popular ETFs were focused on fixed income, with total flows into U.S. and international bond funds totaling $7.46 billion and $834.3 million, respectively.
Investors are clearly worried that problems in debt-gorged Greece, Spain and Italy might bring down not only the eurozone as we know it, but also any glimmers of hope that the rest of the global economy might somehow dodge the bullet.
The Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF Fund (NYSEArca: BND) was last month's most popular ETF, pulling in $1.23 billion, and lifting its total assets to more than $17 billion. But Treasury ETFs were a big attraction too, which no doubt helped push yields on 10-year debt down to record lows of around 1.50 percent.
For example, the iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasury Bond Fund (NYSEArca: SHY) and the iShares Barclays 7-10 Year Treasury Bond Fund (NYSEArca: IEF) gathered $1.15 billion and $607.5 million, respectively, according to data compiled by IndexUniverse.
The success of Vanguard funds such as BND helped make the Valley Forge, Pa.-based company the most successful firm in terms of asset-gathering last month. Vanguard, the No. 3 U.S. ETF firm by assets, added almost $6.7 billion in assets.
Meanwhile, the Nos. 1 and 2 firms, San Francisco-based BlackRock unit iShares and Boston-based State Street Global Advisors, suffered outflows of $683.5 million and $1.78 billion, respectively.
|May 2012 Top Gainers ($, Millions)|
|Ticker||Name||Issuer||May 2012 Flows||May 2012
AUM ($, M)
|BND||Vanguard Total Bond Market||Vanguard||1,226.27||17,055.22||2,395.59|
|SHY||iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasury Bond||BlackRock||1,148.11||11,485.66||3,252.93|
|IEI||iShares Barclays 3-7 Year Treasury Bond||BlackRock||759.01||3,118.09||1,340.20|
|VOO||Vanguard S&P 500||Vanguard||644.39||4,410.59||1,324.90|
|TIP||iShares Barclays TIPS Bond||BlackRock||637.52||23,676.84||2,313.14|
|LQD||iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond||BlackRock||613.99||21,188.57||5,110.08|
|IEF||iShares Barclays 7-10 Year Treasury Bond||BlackRock||607.50||5,304.06||1,858.50|
|TLT||iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond||BlackRock||586.78||3,786.52||24,815.54|
|Flows By Asset Class And Total Flows||Net Flows ($, mm)||AUM ($, mm)||% of AUM|
|International Equity||- 3,387.88||251,902.42||-1.34%|
|U.S. Fixed Income||7,458.09||206,539.36||3.61%|
|International Fixed Income||834.31||16,288.73||5.12%|
|May 2012 League Table|
|Issuer||Net Flows||AUM ($M)||% of AUM||Turnover|
|Invesco PowerShares||- 1,263.79||63,039.58||-2.00%||94,658.28|
|First Trust||- 32.36||7,358.38||-0.44%||2,087.98|
|ETF Securities||- 26.28||3,648.42||-0.72%||1,044.27|
|US Commodity Funds||- 21.33||2,677.11||-0.80%||11,639.93|
|Merrill Lynch||- 49.85||1,127.05||-4.42%||254.60|
|Emerging Global Shares||20.24||642.93||3.15%||174.49|
|Deutsche Bank||- 4.75||158.05||-3.00%||28.72|
|Exchange Traded Concepts||2.45||31.41||7.80%||21.47|
Be careful when making fruit-basket comparisons; you’re likely to come up with lemons.
Movers and shakers in the ETF world are often just the opposite.
With the S&P 500 topping 2,000, it’s worth understanding how you ended up in the wrong large-cap ETF.
Pimco is going back to what it does best—generating alpha through fixed-income exposure.