Most Actively Traded ETFs

October 04, 2022

If there’s one thing traders love, it’s volatility. Large price swings create opportunities for nimble traders to try and time the market by buying low and selling high. 

Take the precipitous drop in the U.S. stock market during the first half of 2022—down 21%. And then the stunning rally between mid-June and mid-August—up more than 17%. Those are the types of moves traders dream of. 

It’s not a surprise then that as the market has swung around excitedly in the past several months, traders have swung into action. 

The high levels of trading activity are reflected in the market’s volume levels. Volume—a measure of how many shares trade hands on a given day—is averaging 24.1 billion shares per day across all U.S. exchanges, over the past year, up 70% from the prepandemic five-year average.

Trading activity exploded at the start of the pandemic as a combination of lockdowns and stimulus checks pushed millions of people into the stock market for the first time.

Volume today is down from the heady levels of late-2020 and early-2021, but still high historically.

Much of that volume is showing up in exchange-traded funds. The most actively traded securities on U.S. exchanges are often ETFs, with tens of millions of shares exchanging hands each day in some popular names. 

Trader Favorites 

Take the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY). It traded an average of 190.1 million shares per day on average during the last 30 days. For comparison, Tesla—the most actively traded stock within the S&P 500—traded an average of 75 million shares in that same time frame. 

SPY isn’t the only ETF traders love. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM), the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF), the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) and the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) are a few heavyweights that routinely trade more than 20 million shares per day. 

In many cases, these heavily traded funds aren’t the cheapest ETFs in their category, nor do they have the most assets under management. Instead, they’re often old, established funds with liquid options markets underlying them—characteristics that appeal to traders. 

But it’s not just ETFs with big AUMs that traders love; there are several cases where ETFs that are small in terms of assets have huge amounts of volume. For instance, the ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (UVXY) only has $929 million in AUM, but it trades a whopping 78.8 million shares per day, making it the fifth-most-traded ETF on the market. 

Likewise, the ProShares UltraPro QQQ (TQQQ) has around $11 billion in assets—relatively small compared with some ETF giants—but it’s the most actively traded ETF in the U.S., with average daily trading volume of 190 million shares. 

Those aren’t the only ETFs punching above their weight. The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX), the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI) and the ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK) all have outsized volumes compared with assets. 

Dollar Volume 

Of course, simply measuring the volume of shares that trade hands for a particular ETF doesn't tell the whole story. All else equal, cheaper-priced funds tend to have more shares traded because investors can simply buy more for a given amount of money. 

Dollar volume—which measures the number of shares traded multiplied by the share price—gives a more complete view of how much money is exchanging hands in a security. 

At the top of the list, the picture changes with this new measure. SPY replaces TQQQ as top dog, with $33.1 billion worth of shares trading hands each day. QQQ, IWM, EEM are also close to the top, with more than $3 billion worth of shares traded daily. 

Impressively, TQQQ, SQQQ and ARKK still make this list, with billions of dollars’ worth of shares trading daily. 

For the full lists of the most actively traded ETFs, see the tables below: 

 

Top 25 Volume Leaders

Fund Ticker 30-Day Avg Volume 30-Day Avg Dollar Volume AUM ($M)
ProShares UltraPro QQQ TQQQ  190,089,664.0 4,231,224,839.9 10934.37
ProShares UltraPro Short QQQ SQQQ  143,347,008.0 7,527,151,390.1 4734.47
Direxion Daily Semiconductors Bull 3x Shares SOXL  89,033,248.0 967,346,239.5 3508.68
SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY  88,190,872.0 33,127,137,249.4 336326.81
ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF UVXY  78,778,928.0 900,167,420.8 928.71
Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 QQQ  60,586,856.0 17,004,004,070.7 150440.89
Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3X Shares LABU  48,094,172.0 368,877,489.8 1143.58
ProShares Short S&P500 SH  44,280,416.0 727,305,832.8 3789.63
Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund XLF  42,775,732.0 1,374,807,748.9 27772.01
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF EEM  41,862,244.0 1,528,390,528.4 20602.46
iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETF HYG  37,599,272.0 2,743,242,885.1 12748.92
ProShares UltraPro Short S&P 500 SPXU  33,398,982.0 639,423,510.4 1228.08
iShares China Large-Cap ETF FXI  32,969,292.0 889,495,013.5 4532.09
ProShares Short QQQ PSQ  29,117,764.0 413,181,071.2 1944.7
Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund XLE  27,796,534.0 2,189,532,983.2 35280.58
iShares Russell 2000 ETF IWM  27,727,730.0 4,836,547,943.9 49905.43
iShares MSCI Brazil ETF EWZ  27,038,782.0 879,030,802.8 5447.53
VanEck Gold Miners ETF/USA GDX  26,121,200.0 668,180,296.0 9753.66
iShares MSCI EAFE ETF EFA  25,792,680.0 1,524,863,241.6 40540
Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bear 3X Shares SPXS  24,779,872.0 624,948,371.8 925.64
ARK Innovation ETF ARKK  23,105,822.0 932,088,859.5 7683.24
Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF VEA  20,968,508.0 806,159,452.3 86100.4
iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF LQD  20,696,092.0 2,162,948,574.9 32350.29
iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF TLT  19,551,102.0 2,029,599,898.6 24435.49
iShares Silver Trust SLV  19,170,086.0 371,037,014.5 9332.99

 

Top 25 Volume LeadersTop 25 Dollar-Volume Leaders

Fund Ticker 30-Day Avg Volume 30-Day Avg Dollar Volume AUM ($M)
SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY  88,190,872 33,127,137,249 336,327
Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 QQQ  60,586,856 17,004,004,071 150,441
ProShares UltraPro Short QQQ SQQQ  143,347,008 7,527,151,390 4,734
iShares Russell 2000 ETF IWM  27,727,730 4,836,547,944 49,905
ProShares UltraPro QQQ TQQQ  190,089,664 4,231,224,840 10,934
iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETF HYG  37,599,272 2,743,242,885 12,749
Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund XLE  27,796,534 2,189,532,983 35,281
iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF LQD  20,696,092 2,162,948,575 32,350
iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF TLT  19,551,102 2,029,599,899 24,435
iShares Core S&P 500 ETF IVV  5,233,943 1,973,981,414 275,911
Vanguard S&P 500 ETF VOO  4,900,456 1,691,147,366 247,717
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF EEM  41,862,244 1,528,390,528 20,602
iShares MSCI EAFE ETF EFA  25,792,680 1,524,863,242 40,540
Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund XLF  42,775,732 1,374,807,749 27,772
Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund XLV  9,767,348 1,228,836,889 36,557
SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF Trust DIA  3,363,892 1,013,775,981 25,970
SPDR Gold Shares GLD  6,229,052 999,078,273 50,559
Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund XLU  14,452,732 987,771,969 16,681
SPDR Bloomberg High Yield Bond ETF JNK  10,977,141 983,167,634 5,454
Direxion Daily Semiconductors Bear 3x Shares SOXS  17,609,684 976,104,784 588
Direxion Daily Semiconductors Bull 3x Shares SOXL 89,033,248 967,346,240 3,509
Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund XLK  7,675,324 966,169,722 36,840
SPDR S&P Biotech ETF XBI  11,457,454 938,136,334 6,833
ARK Innovation ETF ARKK  23,105,822 932,088,859 7,683
ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF UVXY  78,778,928 900,167,421 929

Find your next ETF

Reset All