'QQQ' Fuels Positive Weekly Flows Despite Heavy Selling In 'SPY'

Inflows into U.S.-listed ETFs remained in positive territory this week despite a big outflow from the world's largest ETF.

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

The pace of inflows into U.S.-listed ETFs slowed last week, but remained in positive territory. Altogether, investors added $5 billion into ETFs during the week ending Thursday, Jan. 12, according to FactSet. 

For a change, U.S. equity ETFs registered a net outflow, losing almost $300 million during the week. The S&P 500 challenged its record high near 2,280 multiple times during the week, but was unable to decisively break out. 

Picking up the slack were international equity ETFs, which took in $4.5 billion during the period and broadly rallied thanks to a pullback in the U.S. dollar. The British FTSE 100 hit record highs, rallying for 14-straight days, the longest winning streak ever.

Meanwhile, U.S. fixed-income ETFs had inflows of $737 million; international fixed-income ETFs had inflows of $178 million; and commodity ETFs had outflows of $398 million.

The U.S. 10-year bond yield was slightly lower week-over-week at 2.4%.

QQQ Tops Inflows List As Nasdaq Hits Record High
The tech-heavy PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ) took the No. 1 spot on the weekly inflows list, with creations of $1.2 billion. The ETF's underlying index, the Nasdaq-100, hit an all-time high during the week.

Two emerging market ETFs also made the top 10, the iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG) and the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO), with inflows of $839 million and $376 million, respectively.

Two EAFE funds were also on the list: the iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA) and its cheaper counterpart, the iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA), with creations of $531 million and $428 million, respectively.

Rounding out the top 10 were a pair of sector ETFs, the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLY), with inflows of $494 million; and the Industrial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLI), with inflows of $352 million.

SPY & Factor ETFs See Outflows
On the outflows side, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) saw a whopping $6.1 billion come out of the fund. Profit-taking is the most likely explanation for the big outflows from the world's largest ETF. 

A number of other broad U.S. equity ETFs also saw outflows during the period, including the factor-targeting iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (IWF) and the iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF (IWD). IWF had redemptions of $854 million, while IWD had redemptions of $311 million during the period.

The only two fixed-income ETFs on the outflows list were the SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (JNK) and the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD), with outflows of more than $400 million each. 

The SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was the only commodity fund on the list; it had redemptions of $325 million, despite the fact that gold prices hit their highest levels since November during the week, around $1,200/oz.

Finally, after doubling its assets last week, the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) saw outflows of more than $330 million this week, representing 39% of its AUM. The ETF routinely sees big inflows and outflows as traders hop in and out of the fund.  

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
QQQPowerShares QQQ Trust1,164.3443,514.482.75%
IEMGiShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF838.7319,342.184.53%
IJRiShares Core S&P Small Cap ETF794.9827,427.532.98%
IJHiShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF788.0136,207.282.22%
VOOVanguard S&P 500 Index Fund742.7859,092.011.27%
EFAiShares MSCI EAFE ETF531.3460,874.840.88%
XLYConsumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund494.1811,678.794.42%
IEFAiShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF427.5616,486.932.66%
VWOVanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF376.1445,877.590.83%
XLIIndustrial Select Sector SPDR Fund351.8410,820.223.36%

Top 10 Redemptions (All ETFs)

TickerNameNet Flows ($,mm)AUM ($, mm)AUM % Change
SPYSPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust-6,069.61224,404.34-2.63%
IWFiShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF-853.6232,277.62-2.58%
JNKSPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF-403.8312,157.46-3.21%
LQDiShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF-400.8726,838.19-1.47%
IWMiShares Russell 2000 ETF-364.7639,111.15-0.92%
IVViShares Core S&P 500 ETF-353.8692,020.67-0.38%
MDYSPDR S&P Midcap 400 ETF Trust-350.8219,382.10-1.78%
XRTSPDR S&P Retail ETF-334.31527.18-38.81%
GLDSPDR Gold Trust-324.9230,498.78-1.05%
IWDiShares Russell 1000 Value ETF-310.9634,867.63-0.88%

ETF Weekly Flows By Asset Class

 Net Flows ($, mm)AUM ($, mm)% of AUM
U.S. Equity-298.071,509,853.09-0.02%
International Equity4,487.16522,335.620.86%
U.S. Fixed Income736.90415,473.260.18%
International Fixed Income177.8640,795.610.44%
Asset Allocation-98.376,757.61-1.46%

Top 10 Volume Surprises, Funds >$50 mm AUM

TickerNameAverage Volume
(30 Day)
1 Week Average
% of Average
PPHVanEck Vectors Pharmaceutical ETF185,298799,986431.73%
REETiShares Global REIT ETF179,926746,074414.66%
PDBCPowerShares DB Optimum Yield Diversified Commodity Strategy Portfolio303,440893,853294.57%
ITRSPDR Barclays Intermediate Term Corporate Bond ETF415,4701,218,389293.26%
NORWGlobal X MSCI Norway ETF93,658242,266258.67%
IBMJiShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Muni Bond ETF46,560108,876233.84%
FIEEUBS AG FI Enhanced Europe 50 ETN4,85410,233210.82%
LITGlobal X Lithium ETF82,299222,138269.92%
IBMHiShares iBonds Sep 2019 Term Muni Bond ETF56,383118,358209.92%
IBMIiShares iBonds Sep 2020 Term Muni Bond ETF55,284124,996226.10%

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.