Low Vol ETFs Power Weekly Inflows

Investors added $5.5 billion to U.S.-listed ETFs this week.

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

A sense of worry lingered over financial markets this week as investors grappled with issues related to trade, interest rates and Brexit. But even though the S&P 500 sold off a few percentage points during the period, investors were confident enough in the long-term outlook to add money to ETFs.

In total, a net $5.5 billion of new money entered U.S.-listed ETFs, including $4.1 billion in U.S. equity ETFs and $1.9 billion in international equity ETFs.

Low Cost, Low Vol

The focus was on low cost and low volatility. Cheap funds like the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV) and the Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT) netted assets during the week.

So too did low-vol products, such as the Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF (SPLV) and the iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol U.S.A. ETF (USMV), both of which made the top 10 inflows list.

Another safety play, the Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLU), also garnered interest.

On the other hand, sticking out like a sore thumb was the VelocityShares 3X Inverse Natural Gas ETN (DGAZ). The ETN, which allows traders to make bearish, leveraged wagers on natural gas prices, was pummeled this week as natural gas prices soared. DGAZ dropped 56% on Wednesday alone, but despite the free-fall, attracted inflows of $417 million this week.

Corporates Out Of Favor

On the other side of the ledger, fixed-income ETFs fell out of favor this week amid worries about the ability of corporate borrowers to repay their debts should the economy slow next year.

The iShares iBoxx USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG), the iShares iBoxx USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD) and the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (JNK) saw some of the largest outflows during the period.

U.S. fixed-income ETFs as a whole registered net outflows of $1.7 billion on the week, while the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield dropped from 3.19% to 3.07%.

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
IVViShares Core S&P 500 ETF1,345.16158,368.550.85%
FXHFirst Trust Health Care AlphaDEX Fund738.062,173.2833.96%
SPLVInvesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF698.648,569.848.15%
XLUUtilities Select Sector SPDR Fund536.418,274.446.48%
IWMiShares Russell 2000 ETF477.0543,995.811.08%
VTVanguard Total World Stock ETF462.3711,831.253.91%
DGAZVelocityShares 3X Inverse Natural Gas ETN417.15341.62122.11%
USMViShares Edge MSCI Min Vol U.S.A. ETF408.0517,895.912.28%
VEAVanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF395.4466,898.070.59%
VTIVanguard Total Stock Market ETF372.6099,859.920.37%

Top 10 Redemptions (All ETFs)

TickerNameNet Flows ($,mm)AUM ($, mm)AUM % Change
HYGiShares iBoxx USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF-1,802.0813,313.20-13.54%
SPYSPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust-832.01256,514.56-0.32%
FXRFirst Trust Industrials/Producer Durables AlphaDEX Fund-738.67512.58-144.11%
QQQInvesco QQQ Trust-645.9964,767.16-1.00%
XLFFinancial Select Sector SPDR Fund-631.6928,621.99-2.21%
LQDiShares iBoxx USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF-605.2730,946.98-1.96%
XLIIndustrial Select Sector SPDR Fund-348.2711,654.99-2.99%
XBISPDR S&P BIOTECH ETF-336.013,937.62-8.53%
JNKSPDR Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Bond ETF-328.578,004.61-4.10%
SHViShares Short Treasury Bond ETF-286.7415,599.69-1.84%

ETF Weekly Flows By Asset Class

 Net Flows ($, mm)AUM ($, mm)% of AUM
U.S. Equity4,112.612,019,472.530.20%
International Equity1,888.26746,600.580.25%
U.S. Fixed Income-1,702.44565,255.27-0.30%
International Fixed Income270.7866,221.850.41%
Commodities 186.4659,677.670.31%
Asset Allocation14.979,011.570.17%

Asset Classes (Year-to-Date)

 Net Flows ($, mm)AUM ($, mm)% of AUM
U.S. Equity103,827.722,019,472.535.14%
International Equity46,015.39746,600.586.16%
U.S. Fixed Income62,540.82565,255.2711.06%
International Fixed Income11,084.5266,221.8516.74%
Commodities -322.8059,677.67-0.54%
Asset Allocation700.349,011.577.77%

Top 10 Volume Surprises, Funds >$50 mm AUM

TickerNameAverage Volume
(30 Day)
1 Week Average
% of Average
IXGiShares Global Financials ETF135,843704,292518.46%
NORWGlobal X MSCI Norway ETF204,2501,114,965545.88%
PAVEGlobal X U.S. Infrastructure Development ETF118,876562,041472.79%
XNTKSPDR NYSE Technology ETF77,912317,207407.14%
FXBInvesco CurrencyShares British Pound Sterling Trust111,471423,897380.28%
JPNXtrackers Japan JPX-Nikkei 400 Equity ETF272,238812,416298.42%
SMBVanEck Vectors AMT-Free Short Municipal Index ETF58,237164,228282.00%
PUIInvesco DWA Utilities Momentum ETF18,75349,075261.69%
HYDWXtrackers Low Beta High Yield Bond ETF1,1362,901255.34%
MVVProShares Ultra MidCap40086,325214,704248.72%


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.