Top 10 ETF Asset Gainers Of 2013

May 16, 2013

The biggest asset gainers of 2013 year-to-date are Japan-equity-related, but a few surprises have made the list, too.


As a whole, 2013 so far has been a big year for exchange-traded products. U.S.-listed ETFs and ETNs broke through the $1.5 trillion mark in overall assets, adding $83.4 billion—a 5.44 percent gain—in the first 4 1/2 months of the year alone according to data compiled by IndexUniverse.

While the entire exchange-traded-product universe is enjoying overall gains, assets under management are really coming up roses for a select handful of ETFs. In terms of overall inflows year-to-date, the table below lists the 10 funds that have championed asset-gathering.

Top Gainers ($, Billions)

Ticker Name Issuer Flows ($, B) AUM ($, B)
DXJ WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity WisdomTree 6.72 9.64
EWJ iShares MSCI Japan BlackRock 5.10 11.97
IVV iShares Core S&P 500 BlackRock 2.91 43.86
BSV Vanguard Short-Term Bond Vanguard 2.86 12.15
BKLN PowerShares Senior Loan Invesco PowerShares 2.55 4.10
VNQ Vanguard REIT Vanguard 2.54 20.90
VTI Vanguard Total Stock Market Vanguard 2.54 31.11
USMV iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility BlackRock 2.51 3.60
VIG Vanguard Dividend Appreciation Vanguard 1.94 16.09
IWM iShares Russell 2000 BlackRock 1.93 20.77

Source: IndexUniverse


Japan Is (Still) The Word

The biggest gainer year-to-date is WisdomTree's Japan Hedged Equity fund (NYSEArca: DXJ), which has heaped on $6.72 billion since the first of the year, increasing its AUM by an incredible 70 percent.

The iShares MSCI Japan ETF (NYSEArca: EWJ) is runner-up to DXJ, piling on $5.10 billion. These funds' success are wholly attributable to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's aggressive monetary easing policies that have been effective at pushing the yen downward and in turn lifting the Japanese stock market as exports become cheaper.

DXJ is a newer, smaller fund than EWJ, but its superior popularity can be traced to a more intuitive investment strategy. While DXJ hedges against the yen-dollar cross, EWJ does not, leaving investors exposed to the nasty bite of a currency that has slid to more than 100 yen per dollar, year-to-date.

While "Abenomics" sweetened investments abroad, rallying domestic stock markets drove billions into U.S. equity funds.

It's no surprise that the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: IVV), which added $2.91 billion so far this year, is the largest gainer of U.S. equity funds. After all, the S&P 500 has increased 16.27 percent since its year-end close on Dec. 31, 2012, closing at a record of 1,658.78 on May 15.

What does come as somewhat of a surprise is that IVV's large-cap brother, and grandfather of ETFs—the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY)—doesn't land on the list of top gainers. In fact, SPY has dropped $604 million year-to-date.

Both funds are weighted similarly, and base their holdings on the S&P 500. Perhaps IVV's lower cost—7 basis points compared with SPY's 9—motivated investors to make the move.

The other U.S. equity funds among the year's best so far are Vanguard's Total Stock Market ETF (NYSEArca: VTI), with inflows of $2.54 billion, and the iShares Russell 2000 fund (NYSEArca: IWM), which gathered $1.93 billion.


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