Record $45B Flows Into ETFs This Week

March 16, 2018

The return of volatility is one of the biggest themes in financial markets so far this year. From stocks to bonds, prices are fluctuating much more vigorously than they did last year. Another place volatility is rearing its head? ETF flows.

After seeing a record-setting monthly inflow of $68.1 billion in January, ETFs registered their first monthly outflow in two years in February, totaling $4.4 billion.

Not to be outdone, flows in March are proving to be even more wild. Just this week, an incredible $44.7 billion entered U.S.-listed ETFs, according to FactSet. Such a number would be sizable for any month, let alone in just five trading sessions.

With the record week in the books, year-to-date inflows through Thursday, March 15 are now up to $97.4 billion. That’s close to where flows stood at this same time last year.

$39B Into US Equity ETFs

After abandoning U.S. equity ETFs for the last several weeks, investors came roaring back into the space this week. Thanks to $10.8 billion worth of inflows for the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) alone, U.S. equity ETFs picked up $39.3 billion in new cash in total.

Despite this week’s inflows, SPY still has a net outflow of $7.8 billion for the year as a whole. As the world’s largest and most liquid ETF, it’s been the preferred trading vehicle for all types of investors and speculators amid this year’s market volatility.

This week’s stampede into U.S. equity ETFs wasn’t caused by a surge in the markets. The S&P 500 briefly topped the 2,800 level during the week but fell back to around 2,750 by week’s end amid reports that the Trump administration could impose steep tariffs on China in the near future, fueling renewed trade war fears.

The iShares Select Dividend ETF (DVY), the PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ) and the iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA) were other ETFs to see large inflows during the period.

LQD & TLT Top Outflows

Outside of U.S. equity ETFs, the numbers were much smaller, but still respectable. International equity ETFs had inflows of $3.8 billion, and U.S. fixed-income ETFs had inflows of just over $1 billion.

Treasury bond prices rallied and yields on the 10-year fell to between 2.8% and 2.85% following the release of benign inflation data and weaker-than-expected retail sales figures.

While fixed-income ETFs had net inflows on the whole, the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD) and the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) were at or near the top of the outflows list.

Likewise, the iShares MSCI Eurozone ETF (EZU), the iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF (EWU) and the iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ) were notable flows losers in the international equity ETF space.

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 10,771.66 277,067.73 4.04%
DVY iShares Select Dividend ETF 3,547.48 20,589.74 20.82%
QQQ PowerShares QQQ Trust 2,708.43 67,565.38 4.18%
IEFA iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF 2,519.34 56,388.45 4.68%
SCHD Schwab U.S. Dividend Equity ETF 2,332.75 9,744.39 31.47%
VIG Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF 1,900.77 29,618.69 6.86%
IWM iShares Russell 2000 ETF 1,639.63 43,128.80 3.95%
XLK Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund 1,160.64 22,232.95 5.51%
IEMG iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF 1,040.76 50,772.60 2.09%
IJR iShares Core S&P Small Cap ETF 1,040.63 38,675.42 2.77%

Top 10 Redemptions (All ETFs)

Ticker Name Net Flows ($,mm) AUM ($, mm) AUM % Change
LQD iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF -907.02 31,497.19 -2.80%
EZU iShares MSCI Eurozone ETF -423.22 15,246.51 -2.70%
TLT iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF -336.28 6,306.22 -5.06%
EWU iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF -324.16 2,000.20 -13.95%
EPP iShares MSCI Pacific ex-Japan ETF -272.01 2,741.80 -9.03%
EWJ iShares MSCI Japan ETF -271.85 22,067.62 -1.22%
VNQ Vanguard Real Estate ETF -218.97 29,841.65 -0.73%
XLE Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund -213.92 17,272.83 -1.22%
EFA iShares MSCI EAFE ETF -169.30 79,276.34 -0.21%
XLU Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund -143.21 6,707.30 -2.09%

ETF Weekly Flows By Asset Class

  Net Flows ($, mm) AUM ($, mm) % of AUM
U.S. Equity 39,325.41 2,011,257.59 1.96%
International Equity 3,786.42 856,615.96 0.44%
U.S. Fixed Income 1,039.03 520,629.54 0.20%
International Fixed Income 373.35 63,046.77 0.59%
Commodities  154.17 69,487.97 0.22%
Currency -5.18 1,350.21 -0.38%
Leveraged -255.24 36,943.90 -0.69%
Inverse 123.45 13,574.73 0.91%
Asset Allocation 105.77 9,080.52 1.16%
Alternatives 45.64 4,321.75 1.06%
Total: 44,692.81 3,586,308.94 1.25%

Top 10 Volume Surprises, Funds >$50 mm AUM

Ticker Name Average Volume
(30 Day)
1 Week Average
% of Average
MFUS PIMCO RAFI Dynamic Multi-Factor U.S. Equity ETF 74,305 434,134 584.26%
RIGS RiverFront Strategic Income Fund 240,937 1,319,009 547.45%
BTEC Principal Healthcare Innovators Index ETF 2,894 14,603 504.60%
CORP PIMCO Investment Grade Corporate Bond Index ETF 68,305 198,075 289.99%
GTO Guggenheim Total Return Bond ETF 18,795 57,746 307.24%
QEMM SPDR MSCI Emerging Markets StrategicFactors ETF 28,382 60,190 212.07%
TTAC TrimTabs All Cap U.S. Free-Cash-Flow ETF 16,660 36,422 218.62%
QEFA SPDR MSCI EAFE StrategicFactors ETF 12,901 25,171 195.11%
QUS SPDR MSCI USA StrategicFactors ETF 8,313 14,612 175.77%
IWX iShares Russell Top 200 Value ETF 21,787 38,594 177.14%


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.


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