ETF Investors Pick Safe Havens This Week

Asset flows in the first week of December put last year’s record haul out of reach.

Reviewed by: Cinthia Murphy
Edited by: Cinthia Murphy

Investors poured a net of only $2.1 billion into U.S.-listed ETFs in the week ending Thursday, Dec. 6. It was a quiet few days in ETF-land.

Leading demand were U.S. fixed-income ETFs such as the iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) and the Vanguard Short-Term Treasury Index ETF (VGSH), the latter seeing an 11% jump in AUM this week.

The appetite for short-term Treasury ETFs this year has been widely talked about, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen a broad investment-grade basket such as the iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) lead inflows. Perhaps risk-off is the play-du-jour as we enter the last month of the year.

The net redemptions seen in U.S. equity funds in the past week further support this ongoing flight to safety, except perhaps for the fact that investors have continued to look for value among international stock funds.

As a segment, U.S. equity funds bled $2.1 billion in net redemptions as the stock market dropped. In this past week, here’s how these popular bond funds stacked up in terms of performance relative to the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY).


Chart courtesy of


The relatively small haul for the week comes on the heels of a massive November for ETFs, when $50 billion in net assets flowed into U.S.-listed ETFs—the second biggest monthly haul since January.

The latest flows figures put last year’s December totals somewhat out of reach—in December 2017, net creations hit $52 billion. The same can be said about year-to-date net creations, currently sitting at $261 billion. With three weeks to go in the year, it looks like hitting last year’s record $476 billion haul will be a tough act to follow.

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
AGGiShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF713.0754,423.111.31%
VOOVanguard S&P 500 ETF690.74100,700.680.69%
QQQInvesco QQQ Trust572.5065,503.220.87%
XLVHealth Care Select Sector SPDR Fund531.5719,833.172.68%
VGSHVanguard Short-Term Treasury Index ETF526.244,723.0811.14%
EEMiShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF521.8530,757.261.70%
IWDiShares Russell 1000 Value ETF457.7038,720.901.18%
IEMGiShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF417.4551,331.150.81%
VTIVanguard Total Stock Market ETF396.78100,568.600.39%
MUBiShares National Muni Bond ETF334.3610,698.403.13%

Top 10 Redemptions (All ETFs)

TickerNameNet Flows ($,mm)AUM ($, mm)AUM % Change
SPYSPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust-4,425.43256,566.25-1.72%
IWMiShares Russell 2000 ETF-809.2243,465.46-1.86%
XLFFinancial Select Sector SPDR Fund-618.5527,692.69-2.23%
VXFVanguard Extended Market ETF-489.066,214.21-7.87%
USMViShares Edge MSCI Min Vol U.S.A. ETF-382.3318,703.72-2.04%
VLUEiShares Edge MSCI U.S.A. Value Factor ETF-366.233,688.34-9.93%
XLIIndustrial Select Sector SPDR Fund-312.8111,075.02-2.82%
IVViShares Core S&P 500 ETF-259.17159,259.05-0.16%
IJRiShares Core S&P Small Cap ETF-249.7341,050.17-0.61%
EWJiShares MSCI Japan ETF-231.4116,544.33-1.40%

ETF Weekly Flows By Asset Class

 Net Flows ($, mm)AUM ($, mm)% of AUM
U.S. Equity-2,134.832,029,111.89-0.11%
International Equity2,717.84764,371.280.36%
U.S. Fixed Income1,950.83574,087.390.34%
International Fixed Income56.7466,742.660.09%
Commodities -236.7760,512.87-0.39%
Asset Allocation-25.439,041.11-0.28%

Asset Classes (Year-to-Date)

 Net Flows ($, mm)AUM ($, mm)% of AUM
U.S. Equity115,295.412,029,111.895.68%
International Equity54,951.50764,371.287.19%
U.S. Fixed Income70,471.15574,087.3912.28%
International Fixed Income11,610.3366,742.6617.40%
Commodities -763.8460,512.87-1.26%
Asset Allocation766.069,041.118.47%

Top 10 Volume Surprises, Funds >$50 mm AUM

TickerNameAverage Volume
(30 Day)
1 Week Average
% of Average
RBUSNationwide Risk-Based U.S. Equity ETF1,47511,723794.53%
ACWFiShares Edge MSCI Multifactor Global ETF130,4291,027,389787.70%
DRSKAptus Defined Risk ETF26,987204,642758.30%
INKMSPDR SSGA Income Allocation ETF12,13959,034486.34%
LFEQVanEck Vectors NDR CMG Long/Flat Allocation ETF24,478117,781481.16%
PUTWWisdomTree CBOE S&P 500 PutWrite Strategy Fund51,454201,954392.49%
TDTFFlexShares iBoxx 5 Year Target Duration TIPS Index Fund330,9091,257,601380.04%
QCLNFirst Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund15,39851,124332.01%
SEAInvesco Shipping ETF55,174160,509290.91%
FBNDFidelity Total Bond ETF77,912225,868289.90%


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.


Cinthia Murphy is head of digital experience, advocating for the user in all that does. She previously served as managing editor and writer for, specializing in ETF content and multimedia. Cinthia’s experience includes time at Dow Jones and former BridgeNews, covering commodity futures markets in Chicago and Brazil equities in Sao Paulo. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.