Monthly ETF Fund Flows
April Flows: BOND Makes It Into Top 10
May 01, 2012
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Bill Gross' Pimco Total Return ETF (NYSEArca: BOND) was the 10th-most-popular ETF last month and the most conspicuous example of investors moving assets into fixed-income funds amid renewed worries about the global recovery. While net flows in April, led by bond funds, were positive to the tune of $3.37 billion, weaker stock prices helped pull total U.S-listed ETF assets down 1 percent to $1.198 trillion.
Despite the month-on-month decline, flows, as noted, were positive in April, and total assets stood almost 13 percent higher than at the end of 2011, and 5.3 percent higher than a year earlier—clear evidence that the popularity of ETFs continues to expand as more investors tune into their low costs, tax efficiency, tradability and transparency.
BOND, the ETF version of the $250 billion mutual fund, the Pimco Total Return Fund, has been on the market for just two months, and has a total of more than $664 million, according to data compiled by IndexUniverse. The new fund gathered $380.1 million in April, adding to hopes among some ETF industry sources that the fund will help expand the popularity of actively managed ETFs.
The Pimco fund was joined on IndexUniverse's "Top Gainers" list by two fixed-income mainstays of the ETF market—the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond Fund (NYSEArca: LQD) and the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond Fund (NYSEArca: HYG). Investors poured $622.5 million into LQD and $505.1 million in HYG.
With nervousness about the eurozone's debt crisis again mounting—this time the focus is on Italy and especially Spain—investors were in something of a risk-off mode, shedding stocks in favor of more stable bonds last month. The S&P 500 Index dipped 0.4 percent last month and the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 0.7 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average did, however, finish April in the black, but just barely.
The least popular funds last month were, fittingly, focused on these three stock indexes.
At the top of our "Biggest Losers" table was the Nasdaq 100 ETF, the PowerShares QQQ Trust (NasdaqGM: QQQ), which bled $2.58 billion. The "Q's" were followed by the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) and the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average Trust (NYSEArca: DIA), which lost $1.69 billion and $984.7 million, respectively.
While the single most popular fund last month was the small-stocks-focused iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund (NYSEArca: IWM), which gathered about $1 billion, the redemptions from QQQ, SPY and DIA were a big reason for the $685.4 million in net outflows from U.S. equities.
Still, low-cost provider Vanguard Group, to some extent, was able to buck the overall anti-equities trend, thereby continuing its seemingly inexorable climb up the U.S. ETF industry's league tables.
Top Gainers ($, Millions)
Biggest Losers ($, Millions)
Asset Class Table
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