Most Actively Traded ETFs

Most Actively Traded ETFs

TQQQ was last month's most-traded ETF.

sumit
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Senior ETF Analyst
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Reviewed by: Sumit Roy
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Edited by: Sumit Roy

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

FundTicker30-Day Avg Volume30-Day Avg Dollar VolumeAUM ($M)
ProShares UltraPro QQQTQQQ 190,089,664.04,231,224,839.910934.37
ProShares UltraPro Short QQQSQQQ 143,347,008.07,527,151,390.14734.47
Direxion Daily Semiconductors Bull 3x SharesSOXL 89,033,248.0967,346,239.53508.68
SPDR S&P 500 ETF TrustSPY 88,190,872.033,127,137,249.4336326.81
ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETFUVXY 78,778,928.0900,167,420.8928.71
Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1QQQ 60,586,856.017,004,004,070.7150440.89
Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3X SharesLABU 48,094,172.0368,877,489.81143.58
ProShares Short S&P500SH 44,280,416.0727,305,832.83789.63
Financial Select Sector SPDR FundXLF 42,775,732.01,374,807,748.927772.01
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETFEEM 41,862,244.01,528,390,528.420602.46
iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETFHYG 37,599,272.02,743,242,885.112748.92
ProShares UltraPro Short S&P 500SPXU 33,398,982.0639,423,510.41228.08
iShares China Large-Cap ETFFXI 32,969,292.0889,495,013.54532.09
ProShares Short QQQPSQ 29,117,764.0413,181,071.21944.7
Energy Select Sector SPDR FundXLE 27,796,534.02,189,532,983.235280.58
iShares Russell 2000 ETFIWM 27,727,730.04,836,547,943.949905.43
iShares MSCI Brazil ETFEWZ 27,038,782.0879,030,802.85447.53
VanEck Gold Miners ETF/USAGDX 26,121,200.0668,180,296.09753.66
iShares MSCI EAFE ETFEFA 25,792,680.01,524,863,241.640540
Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bear 3X SharesSPXS 24,779,872.0624,948,371.8925.64
ARK Innovation ETFARKK 23,105,822.0932,088,859.57683.24
Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETFVEA 20,968,508.0806,159,452.386100.4
iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETFLQD 20,696,092.02,162,948,574.932350.29
iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETFTLT 19,551,102.02,029,599,898.624435.49
iShares Silver TrustSLV 19,170,086.0371,037,014.59332.99

 

Top 25 Volume LeadersTop 25 Dollar-Volume Leaders

FundTicker30-Day Avg Volume30-Day Avg Dollar VolumeAUM ($M)
SPDR S&P 500 ETF TrustSPY 88,190,87233,127,137,249336,327
Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1QQQ 60,586,85617,004,004,071150,441
ProShares UltraPro Short QQQSQQQ 143,347,0087,527,151,3904,734
iShares Russell 2000 ETFIWM 27,727,7304,836,547,94449,905
ProShares UltraPro QQQTQQQ 190,089,6644,231,224,84010,934
iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETFHYG 37,599,2722,743,242,88512,749
Energy Select Sector SPDR FundXLE 27,796,5342,189,532,98335,281
iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETFLQD 20,696,0922,162,948,57532,350
iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETFTLT 19,551,1022,029,599,89924,435
iShares Core S&P 500 ETFIVV 5,233,9431,973,981,414275,911
Vanguard S&P 500 ETFVOO 4,900,4561,691,147,366247,717
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETFEEM 41,862,2441,528,390,52820,602
iShares MSCI EAFE ETFEFA 25,792,6801,524,863,24240,540
Financial Select Sector SPDR FundXLF 42,775,7321,374,807,74927,772
Health Care Select Sector SPDR FundXLV 9,767,3481,228,836,88936,557
SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF TrustDIA 3,363,8921,013,775,98125,970
SPDR Gold SharesGLD 6,229,052999,078,27350,559
Utilities Select Sector SPDR FundXLU 14,452,732987,771,96916,681
SPDR Bloomberg High Yield Bond ETFJNK 10,977,141983,167,6345,454
Direxion Daily Semiconductors Bear 3x SharesSOXS 17,609,684976,104,784588
Direxion Daily Semiconductors Bull 3x SharesSOXL89,033,248967,346,2403,509
Technology Select Sector SPDR FundXLK 7,675,324966,169,72236,840
SPDR S&P Biotech ETFXBI 11,457,454938,136,3346,833
ARK Innovation ETFARKK 23,105,822932,088,8597,683
ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETFUVXY 78,778,928900,167,421929

Sumit Roy is the senior ETF analyst for etf.com, where he has worked for 13 years. He creates a variety of content for the platform, including news articles, analysis pieces, videos and podcasts.

Before joining etf.com, Sumit was the managing editor and commodities analyst for Hard Assets Investor. In those roles, he was responsible for most of the operations of HAI, a website dedicated to education about commodities investing.

Though he still closely follows the commodities beat, Sumit covers a much broader assortment of topics for etf.com, with a particular focus on stock and bond exchange-traded funds.

He is the host of etf.com’s Talk ETFs, a popular video series that features weekly interviews with thought leaders in the ETF industry. Sumit is also co-host of Exchange Traded Fridays, etf.com’s weekly podcast series.

He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he enjoys climbing the city’s steep hills, playing chess and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe.