2016 Flows Approach Record After Weekly Flows Of $15B

Investors continued to pile into U.S.-listed ETFs in the latest week.

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

Investors continued to plow money into ETFs at a breakneck pace during the first week of December. After adding $48 billion to U.S.-listed ETFs in November, they added $14.6 billion to the space in the week ending Thursday, Dec. 8. Year-to-date inflows now total $229.5 billion, according to FactSet. That puts 2016's flows within range of 2014's record annual flows of $244 billion. 

Once again, U.S. equity ETFs took in the largest haul of the weekly flows, at $11.4 billion. All of the major U.S. stock market benchmarks roared to record highs this week. The S&P 500 reached as high as 2,255 on Friday, a gain of 2.9% week-over-week. Including dividends, the index is up 12.6% year-to-date.

Meanwhile, international equity ETFs and U.S. fixed-income ETFs were two other segments to see notable inflows. International equity had inflows just shy of $2 billion, while U.S. fixed-income had inflows of $2.4 billion. In the past week, stocks around the world rallied along with their U.S. counterparts, but not to the same degree. Meanwhile, the rout in U.S. bond markets slowed during the period, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield last hovering near 2.48%

For the week, the segment with the largest ouflows were commodities. All together, $1.1 billion came out of such ETFs, with oil and gold products seeing the brunt of the redemptions.

Financials & Junk Bonds Take In Assets
The top inflows list was made up of familiar ETF giants. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) took in $5.2 billion in assets alone. Following far behind was the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF), with inflows of $614 million. Financials, of course, are anticipated to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of President-elect Trump's economic policies and the recent spike in interest rates.

Two other sector ETFs that made an appearance on the weekly flows list were the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLP) and the Industrial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLI). They saw creations of $424 million and $387 million, respectively.

Meanwhile, the SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (JNK) took the No. 3 spot on the weekly top inflows list. Though the rout in Treasurys has weighed on junk bonds to some extent, they've outperformed, as investors now see a lower chance of default amid faster economic growth and a rebound in crude oil prices.

For similar reasons, the PowerShares Senior Loan Portfolio (BKLN) found favor with investors. The high-yield fund rounded out the top 10, with $378 million of inflows for the week.

UWTI & Oil ETFs Lose Assets
On the outflows side, the PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ) easily took the top spot, with redemptions of $2.3 billion. The iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD) followed suit, with outflows of $525 million. Like Treasurys, investment-grade corporate bonds got hammered in the month following Trump's election.

Also falling out of favor during the week were four commodity-related ETFs. The VelocityShares 3x Long Crude Oil ETN (UWTI) saw outflows of $508 million. The ETN was officially delisted from the NYSE on Thursday, but still had $574 million in assets at the close of trading on that day. As of Friday, the ETN was still trading briskly, though prices were significantly below fair value. 

The United States Oil Fund (USO) and the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP) were another pair of energy ETFs to see heavy outflows during the week, with redemptions of $483 million and $463 million, respectively. Oil prices ended this week largely flat, around $51.50, after surging 12% last week on the announced OPEC production cut.

Other notable funds on this week's outflows list were the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), with redemptions of $347 million; the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI), with redemptions of $329 million; and the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB), with redemptions of $321 million. 

On Friday, gold prices hit a fresh 10-month low around $1,156/oz, while biotech stocks ended the week close to unchanged after falling sharply during November.

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
SPYSPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust5,213.29217,695.172.45%
XLFFinancial Select Sector SPDR Fund613.5922,808.762.76%
JNKSPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF543.3212,011.274.74%
VOOVanguard S&P 500 Index Fund539.7056,205.340.97%
MDYSPDR S&P Midcap 400 ETF Trust485.6219,121.342.61%
XLPConsumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund424.247,958.535.63%
IJHiShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF395.1934,466.891.16%
IEMGiShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF389.8217,541.722.27%
XLIIndustrial Select Sector SPDR Fund387.2010,656.673.77%
BKLNPowerShares Senior Loan Portfolio378.486,946.505.76%

Top 10 Redemptions (All ETFs)

TickerNameNet Flows ($,mm)AUM ($, mm)AUM % Change
QQQPowerShares QQQ Trust-2,330.5238,601.93-5.69%
LQDiShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF-525.2028,762.31-1.79%
UWTIVelocityShares 3x Long Crude Oil ETN-507.70662.62-43.38%
USOUnited States Oil Fund LP-482.933,187.52-13.16%
XOPSPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF-463.362,465.09-15.82%
IWMiShares Russell 2000 ETF-416.1137,373.44-1.10%
EFAViShares MSCI EAFE Minimum Volatility ETF-352.466,511.13-5.14%
GLDSPDR Gold Trust-346.9532,586.18-1.05%
XBISPDR S&P BIOTECH ETF-328.942,729.45-10.76%
IBBiShares NASDAQ Biotechnology ETF-321.467,380.40-4.17%

ETF Weekly Flows By Asset Class

 Net Flows ($, mm)AUM ($, mm)% of AUM
U.S. Equity11,408.071,430,714.660.80%
International Equity1,964.93497,531.660.39%
U.S. Fixed Income2,426.63403,293.760.60%
International Fixed Income-68.5239,509.43-0.17%
Asset Allocation96.416,402.721.51%

Top 10 Volume Surprises, Funds >$50 mm AUM

TickerNameAverage Volume
(30 Day)
1 Week Average
% of Average
PFIPowerShares DWA Financial Momentum Portfolio115,331800,637694.21%
MXIiShares Global Materials ETF59,969234,336390.76%
PXIPowerShares DWA Energy Momentum Portfolio113,561637,553561.42%
PSLPowerShares DWA Consumer Staples Momentum Portfolio131,536647,400492.18%
DEUSDeutsche X-trackers Russell 1000 Comprehensive Factor ETF7,12120,548288.56%
EEMSiShares MSCI Emerging Markets Small Cap ETF65,887141,491214.75%
BIZDVanEck Vectors BDC Income ETF60,032141,740236.11%
PUIPowerShares DWA Utilities Momentum Portfolio147,635736,723499.02%
QEMMSPDR MSCI Emerging Markets Quality Mix ETF9,68320,917216.02%
DVPDeep Value ETF4,6799,270198.12%


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.