Investors Start 2017 With A Bang, Add $13B To ETFs

When it comes to flows, 2017 started out how 2016 ended.

Reviewed by: Sumit Roy
Edited by: Sumit Roy

Investors didn't even take a moment to catch their breath. After adding a record amount of money into exchange-traded funds in the month of December, and 2016 as a whole, they continued to stampede into ETFs in the first week of the new year. Altogether, $13.1 billion entered U.S.-listed ETFs in the week ending Thursday, Jan. 5, according to FactSet.

U.S. equity ETFs were again the preferred destination. That segment saw $8.7 billion worth of inflows. On Friday, the S&P 500 touched a record high above 2,282 after returning 12% in 2016.

Meanwhile, U.S. fixed-income ETFs took in $2.8 billion; international equity ETFs took in $1.6 billion; and international fixed-income ETFs took in more than $500 million. The U.S. 10-year bond yield edged slightly lower week-over-week to last trade at 2.42%, compared with its recent high of 2.6%.

Commodity ETFs and inverse ETFs were the biggest-losing segments of the period, with outflows of $300 million and $230 million, respectively.

REIT & Retail ETFs Garner Inflows
Broad market ETFs continued to gather the bulk of inflows in the first week of 2017. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), the Vanguard S&P 500 Index Fund (VOO), the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) and the SPDR S&P Midcap 400 ETF (MDY) took the top four spots for the week. 

Following suit was the Vanguard REIT Index Fund (VNQ), with inflows of $590 million. The recent slide in interest rates aided the interest-rate-sensitive real estate sector.

The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) saw the largest jump in assets on a percentage basis. Inflows for XRT totaled $482 million, or 120% of the fund's AUM.

Other winners of note for the week included the SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (JNK) and the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF), with creations of more than $450 million each.

QQQ & GLD Top Outflows List
On the outflows side, the PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ) took the No. 1 spot, with redemptions of $1.2 billion. QQQ was a big loser in 2016 as well, having outflows of more than $2.5 billion.

Following suit was the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), with outflows of $353 million. Gold prices rose by almost 2% week-over-week on the back of a pullback in the U.S. dollar. 

The VelocityShares 3x Inverse Natural Gas ETN (DGAZ) was the biggest loser on the percentage basis. Outflows for the ETN totaled $193 million, or 59% of AUM. Traders may have cashed out of the product after natural gas prices plunged 12% on the week.

Other noteworthy losers this week included the iShares Global Infrastructure ETF (IGF) and the Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index 3x Bull Shares (NUGT), with inflows of around $150 million each.

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

Top 10 Creations (All ETFs)

Ticker Name Net Flows ($,mm) AUM ($, mm) AUM % Change
SPY SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust 2,266.96 229,917.65 1.00%
VOO Vanguard S&P 500 Index Fund 911.12 58,208.45 1.59%
IWM iShares Russell 2000 ETF 721.83 39,893.88 1.84%
MDY SPDR S&P Midcap 400 ETF Trust 676.78 19,835.73 3.53%
VNQ Vanguard REIT Index Fund 589.51 33,740.35 1.78%
XRT SPDR S&P Retail ETF 482.09 882.47 120.41%
JNK SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF 456.46 12,515.92 3.79%
XLF Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund 452.66 23,483.58 1.97%
VEA Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF 387.31 41,252.48 0.95%
DIA SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF Trust 385.88 15,218.89 2.60%

Top 10 Redemptions (All ETFs)

Ticker Name Net Flows ($,mm) AUM ($, mm) AUM % Change
QQQ PowerShares QQQ Trust -1,237.42 41,400.32 -2.90%
GLD SPDR Gold Trust -352.95 30,452.76 -1.15%
DGAZ VelocityShares 3X Inverse Natural Gas ETN -192.93 133.81 -59.05%
TLT iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF -167.07 5,153.30 -3.14%
IGF iShares Global Infrastructure ETF -161.04 1,292.22 -11.08%
EWC iShares MSCI Canada ETF -157.72 3,554.99 -4.25%
NUGT Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index Bull 3x Shares -138.02 1,621.74 -7.84%
EZY WisdomTree LargeCap Value Fund -129.86 82.35 -61.20%
IEF iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF -104.78 7,439.24 -1.39%
EFAV iShares MSCI EAFE Minimum Volatility ETF -104.23 5,841.52 -1.75%

ETF Weekly Flows By Asset Class

  Net Flows ($, mm) AUM ($, mm) % of AUM
U.S. Equity 8,722.85 1,512,692.21 0.58%
International Equity 1,614.45 517,596.27 0.31%
U.S. Fixed Income 2,783.80 413,033.23 0.67%
International Fixed Income 512.27 40,492.11 1.27%
Commodities -303.43 60,519.72 -0.50%
Currency -69.14 3,138.13 -2.20%
Leveraged 60.03 24,875.55 0.24%
Inverse -234.81 16,937.30 -1.39%
Asset Allocation -49.61 6,836.83 -0.73%
Alternatives 34.33 3,821.01 0.90%
Total: 13,070.73 2,599,942.37 0.50%

Top 10 Volume Surprises, Funds >$50 mm AUM

Ticker Name Average Volume
(30 Day)
1 Week Average
% of Average
PXMV PowerShares Russell Midcap Pure Value Portfolio 28,852 168,921 585.48%
EZY WisdomTree LargeCap Value Fund 87,407 740,674 847.38%
FYT First Trust Small Cap Value AlphaDEX Fund 55,296 311,129 562.66%
MLPC C-Tracks Miller/Howard MLP Fundamental ETN 12,969 55,542 428.28%
FNK First Trust Mid Cap Value AlphaDEX Fund 33,887 236,975 699.30%
MDYV SPDR S&P 400 Mid Cap Value ETF 56,343 245,720 436.12%
VCLT Vanguard Long-Term Corporate Bond Index Fund 369,502 1,263,734 342.01%
SMD SPDR S&P 1000 ETF 10,035 34,439 343.17%
SST SPDR Barclays Short Term Treasury ETF 43,860 180,883 412.41%
BLHY Virtus Newfleet Dynamic Credit ETF 288,777 823,136 285.04%

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, where he's worked for 12 years. Before joining the company, Roy was the managing editor and commodities analyst for Hard Assets Investor. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he enjoys climbing the city’s steep hills, playing pickleball and snowboarding.