Investors flocked to U.S. fixed-income ETFs in January, pouring some $13 billion into funds tapping a wide range of duration, from short- to mid- to long-dated debt. Also popular was the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD).
It’s perhaps unsurprising to see investor demand for the safety of high-grade U.S. bond funds such as the iShares Short Treasury Bond (SHV) and the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond (TLT), as well as for safe-havenlike assets such as gold, in a month when the S&P 500 Index slipped more than 100 points, or roughly 5%, amid volatile action. January was not pretty for stocks.
There seemed to be a lot of people buying into the notion that as January goes, so goes the year, and there were plenty of economists and market analysts reinforcing that notion with calls for a recession in the U.S. ahead.
QQQ Led Outflows
U.S. equity ETFs, in fact, bled a net of $11 billion in assets in January. The $36 billion PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was the least popular fund of them all, with net redemptions of $2.03 billion, according to FactSet data.
In total, U.S.-listed ETFs gathered only $348 million in fresh net assets last month—a weak start to the year in terms of flows, but not an unusual one.
Just a year ago, January 2015 saw a similar distaste among investors for U.S. equity ETFs, which saw $22 billion in net outflows in one month. That same month, U.S. fixed-income ETFs attracted more than $7 billion in net creations.
Int’l Equity ETFs See Outflows
What’s different this year is that demand for international equity ETFs was also muted to start the year. Investors yanked $4.2 billion from the asset class in January.
The same ETFs that led inflows of more than $6 billion into international stock funds in January a year ago were found among the past month’s biggest redemptions this time around.
Contact Cinthia Murphy at [email protected].
AUM ($, M)
|SHV||iShares Short Treasury Bond||BlackRock||2,690.02||5,765.60||4,320.64|
|TLT||iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond||BlackRock||1,668.67||8,114.53||27,816.16|
|VOO||Vanguard S&P 500||Vanguard||1,665.00||40,105.91||16,302.41|
|IEF||iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond||BlackRock||1,367.10||9,675.96||7,416.31|
|SPY||SPDR S&P 500||SSgA||1,335.35||174,648.98||794,706.36|
|SHY||iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond||BlackRock||1,259.92||12,582.50||4,843.62|
|USO||United States Oil||US Commodity Funds||904.90||3,659.40||12,670.10|
|XLU||Utilities Select SPDR||SSgA||810.74||6,844.08||13,978.76|
|AGG||iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond||BlackRock||792.24||31,721.07||8,486.18|
Biggest Losers ($, Millions)
AUM ($, M)
|QQQ||PowerShares QQQ||Invesco PowerShares||-2,036.52||37,824.11||124,059.47|
|EEM||iShares MSCI Emerging Markets||BlackRock||-1,690.68||18,343.58||47,322.84|
|IWD||iShares Russell 1000 Value||BlackRock||-1,364.19||24,562.17||9,882.42|
|IWF||iShares Russell 1000 Growth||BlackRock||-1,319.32||28,488.97||8,511.23|
|XLF||Financial Select SPDR||SSgA||-1,247.22||16,522.25||31,255.56|
|XLK||Technology Select SPDR||SSgA||-1,181.78||11,993.99||14,896.64|
|DXJ||WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity||WisdomTree||-986.00||12,737.86||8,038.50|
|HEDJ||WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity||WisdomTree||-810.86||15,328.06||6,930.66|
|FDN||First Trust Dow Jones Internet||First Trust||-765.85||3,597.97||2,484.02|
|XLY||Consumer Discretionary Select SPDR||SSgA||-636.56||10,195.48||18,099.24|
Asset Class Data
|Net Flows ($, mm)||AUM ($, mm)||% of AUM|
|U.S. Fixed Income||13,127.54||343,110.84||3.83%|
|International Fixed Income||342.15||28,093.90||1.22%|