2016 ETF Inflows Set New Record Above $280B

2016 ETF Inflows Set New Record Above $280B

Investors added $6.8 billion into ETFs in the latest week, pushing 2016's total inflows further into record territory.

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

A strong year for ETF inflows finished on a strong note. In the week ending Thursday, Dec. 29, investors added $6.8 billion to U.S.-listed exchange-traded funds, according to FactSet. With only one trading day not included in the count, the 2016 inflows total now stands at $282 billion. That's a record figure and well above the previous annual all-time high of $244 billion set in 2014.

As has been the case in recent weeks, U.S. equity ETFs continued to take in the bulk of inflows. This week, $3.6 billion came into the segment, followed by $1.9 billion into international equity ETFs and $1.8 billion into U.S. fixed-income ETFs. 

International fixed-income ETFs saw a much more modest $28 million of inflows, while commodity ETFs had outflows of $186 million.

In terms of performance, U.S. stocks sold off this week as investors locked in profits from the strong run since the elections. As of this writing, the S&P 500 was up 12% year-to-date, slightly down from its highest level of 13.6%.

Meanwhile, Treasurys rallied in the week, pushing the 10-year bond yield down to 2.44%, compared with this year's high of 2.6% (bond prices and yields move inversely). The 10-year started the year at 2.27%.

HEDJ Regains Some Lost Assets
The ETF taking in the most flows this week was the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM). Its $951 million of flows put it ahead of the No. 2 on the list, the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG), which took in $628 million of its own.

A few sector ETFs also made the weekly top 10. The Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF) and the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK) had inflows of $481 million and $355 million, respectively.

Also of note was the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (HEDJ). Though it saw the largest outflows of any ETF this year, at $7.8 billion, in the final week of 2016, some investors were bullish on the fund; it took in $261 million. 

SPY Sees Outflows, Still Takes In $22 Billion This Year
In contrast, the ETF that had the largest inflows of the year, at $22.2 billion, saw some outflows in the final week. Investors took out $719 million from the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) in the week ending Dec. 29.

The Vanguard REIT Index Fund (VNQ) took the No. 2 spot on the weekly outflows list, with $363 million in redemptions. A number of other ETFs representing interest-rate-sensitive areas of the market also fell out of favor this week. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) had outflows of $285 million; the Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLU) had outflows of $150 million; and the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation Index Fund (VIG) had outflows of $148 million.

For a full list of this week's top inflows and outflows, see the tables below:

Top 10 Creations (All ETFs)

TickerNameNet Flows ($,mm)AUM ($, mm)AUM % Change
IWMiShares Russell 2000 ETF951.1938,393.812.54%
HYGiShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF627.9818,875.223.44%
VEAVanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF509.2339,916.321.29%
XLFFinancial Select Sector SPDR Fund481.2922,708.592.17%
XLKTechnology Select Sector SPDR Fund354.7714,314.332.54%
EFAiShares MSCI EAFE ETF345.4459,145.680.59%
IEFAiShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF277.2215,524.101.82%
HEDJWisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund260.849,221.402.91%
JNKSPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF236.9111,965.722.02%
IVViShares Core S&P 500 ETF215.2291,319.480.24%

Top 10 Redemptions (All ETFs)

TickerNameNet Flows ($,mm)AUM ($, mm)AUM % Change
SPYSPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust-719.16225,466.93-0.32%
VNQVanguard REIT Index Fund-363.4131,746.74-1.13%
TLTiShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF-284.515,270.97-5.12%
FXIiShares China Large-Cap ETF-247.072,864.28-7.94%
EFAViShares MSCI EAFE Minimum Volatility ETF-188.795,858.58-3.12%
XLUUtilities Select Sector SPDR Fund-150.066,696.04-2.19%
VIGVanguard Dividend Appreciation Index Fund-148.1122,412.61-0.66%
USOUnited States Oil Fund LP-140.403,156.97-4.26%
IWOiShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF-139.537,102.21-1.93%
EEMiShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF-138.9625,700.43-0.54%

ETF Weekly Flows By Asset Class

 Net Flows ($, mm)AUM ($, mm)% of AUM
U.S. Equity3,584.901,484,229.990.24%
International Equity1,909.07504,522.900.38%
U.S. Fixed Income1,754.73407,930.850.43%
International Fixed Income27.7939,798.870.07%
Asset Allocation66.276,765.550.98%

Top 10 Volume Surprises, Funds >$50 mm AUM

TickerNameAverage Volume
(30 Day)
1 Week Average
% of Average
PHDGPowershares S&P 500 Downside Hedged Portfolio25,208146,123579.67%
PVIPowerShares VRDO Tax-Free Weekly Portfolio27,320124,789456.77%
BWZSPDR Barclays Short Term International Treasury Bond ETF55,443196,044353.60%
WBIHWBI Tactical High Income Shares57,812266,571461.10%
WBIIWBI Tactical Income Shares106,324466,561438.81%
DVYEiShares Emerging Markets Dividend ETF63,276151,152238.88%
XRLVPowerShares S&P 500 ex-Rate Sensitive Low Volatility Portfolio40,55690,000221.92%
ISHGiShares 1-3 Year International Treasury Bond ETF4,9289,686196.57%
PWCPowerShares Dynamic Market Portfolio3,61710,444288.74%
HTUSHull Tactical US ETF30,05956,255187.15%

Disclaimer: All data as of 6 a.m. Eastern time the date the article is published. Data is believed to be accurate; however, transient market data is often subject to subsequent revision and correction by the exchanges.


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.