ETFs Lose Assets To Start Year

February 02, 2015

Investors yanked money out of exchange-traded funds in the first month of 2015, led by sizable outflows from the biggest of them all, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY | A-98). Markets were rattled by a do-or-die sort of sentiment surrounding the eurozone's tortured six-year process to prevent deflationary pressures from taking root.

Overall, SPY bled $28 billion last month and net outflows totaled $3.8 billion. Between those outflows and a 3 percent drop in the S&P 500 Index in January, total U.S.-listed ETF assets dropped in the month to $1.983 trillion from $2.136 trillion at the end of the year, according to data compiled by ETF.com.

The outflows in January were in stark contrast to the record inflows in December 2014 of $52.7 billion and an annual inflows record of nearly $243 billion in all of last year. The ETF asset-gathering juggernaut is alive and well, but seems to be pausing for at least this month.

Jitters about the macroeconomy continue to reverberate throughout the economy as investors fretted about what the European Central Bank plans to do to stimulate economic activity in the European Union. The ECB did promise a surprisingly strong dose of quantitative easing, scheduled to get underway in the coming months. The market rallied on the news after flagging earlier in the month.

It's hardly a surprise that an equity strategy that protects U.S. investors from a weakening euro was last month's most popular ETF. The WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (HEDJ | B-50) pulled in almost $2.9 billion and raised total assets under management in the now-blockbuster fund to more than $9 billion.

Right behind HEDJ in terms of inflows was the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD | A-100), which had inflows of more than $2 billion. Gold prices rose by almost 9 percent in January—a reflection of renewed investor nervousness about the global economy, particularly the eurozone.

Given the anxiety coursing through investment markets, it’s also no surprise that fixed-income ETFs also pulled in significant assets. U.S.-focused bond ETFs gathered upward of $8 billion, with the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG | B-64) pulling in $843 million of that total.


Flows
Asset Class Net Flows ($M) AUM ($M) % of AUM
U.S. Equity -22,148.29 1,119,934.14 -1.98%
International Equity 6,245.96 432,902.08 1.44%
U.S. Fixed Income 7,790.76 295,651.27 2.64%
International Fixed Income 277.96 24,185.71 1.15%
Commodities 3,068.86 60,184.25 5.10%
Currency 117.80 1,379.08 8.54%
Leveraged 1,196.63 24,179.12 4.95%
Inverse -71.47 16,826.54 -0.42%
Asset Allocation -72.94 5,262.35 -1.39%
Alternatives -206.76 3,099.93 -6.67%
Total: -3,801.49 1,983,604.48 -0.19%


Biggest Losers
Ticker Name Issuer Flows AUM ($M) Turnover
SPY SPDR S&P 500 SSgA -28,030.52 181,725.78 714,645.16
QQQ PowerShares QQQ Invesco PowerShares -3,024.22 36,606.32 90,187.09
XLF Financial Select SPDR SSgA -2,105.05 17,727.23 22,414.00
IVV iShares Core S&P 500 BlackRock -1,718.40 66,990.30 26,236.20
IWM iShares Russell 2000 BlackRock -1,445.40 27,652.68 97,985.10
EWJ iShares MSCI Japan BlackRock -1,258.27 13,593.14 7,778.84
ACWI iShares MSCI ACWI BlackRock - 993.82 6,330.98 4,116.03
EEM iShares MSCI Emerging Markets BlackRock - 969.89 31,384.57 54,271.93
DIA SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average Trust SSgA - 839.04 11,806.50 29,966.54
XLI Industrial Select SPDR SSgA - 755.52 8,195.94 15,651.37


Top Gainers
Ticker Fund Issuer Flows AUM ($M) Turnover
HEDJ WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity WisdomTree 2,898.35 9,012.31 5,722.04
GLD SPDR Gold SSgA 2,039.36 30,714.47 26,553.44
VOO Vanguard S&P 500 Vanguard 1,645.79 28,324.41 10,118.75
VTI Vanguard Total Stock Market Vanguard 1,382.63 50,839.91 8,276.18
DBEF Deutsche X-trackers MSCI EAFE Hedged Equity ETF Deutsche Bank 1,177.77 3,006.63 2,063.31
USO United States Oil US Commodity Funds 1,153.82 2,315.16 12,969.68
XLV Health Care Select SPDR SSgA 867.72 13,004.34 18,193.07
GDX Market Vectors Gold Miners Van Eck 843.64 7,485.48 26,719.31
HYG iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond BlackRock 843.37 15,274.70 13,662.44
XOP SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production SSgA 696.55 1,676.44 12,192.96



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