Weekly ETF Fund Flows
Weekly ETF Fund Flows: SPY, XLF Leak
May 18, 2012
Investors yanked more than $1.25 billion out of exchange-traded funds in the past week, most of that from developed as well as emerging market equities, as global markets reeled from the newest twists and turns in Europe’s ongoing debt crisis.
It’s hardly a surprise that the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY), the world’s biggest exchange-traded fund, bled the most assets, with outflows of $1.73 billion in the five trading days ended May 17, according to data compiled by IndexUniverse.
But right behind SPY was the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEArca: XLF), a fitting ETF for the No. 2 slot on IndexUniverse’s top redemptions list considering all the concern about Europe’s financial sector. Investors pulled just over $1 billion out of XLF.
As things stand, credit ratings on many Spanish banks have been downgraded, and talk has become increasingly explicit about how Greece might find a way to exit the eurozone and its common currency, the euro. The dire possibility has even earned the nickname “Grexit”—a financial market attempt at gallows humor or a sign that Greece’s eurozone fate is now a question of “when” and not “if.”
Overall, including the market’s sharp moves lower over the past week, total assets in U.S.-listed ETFs dropped 3.5 percent in the past week.
The redemptions also included the world’s two-biggest funds focused on the developing world: the Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: VWO) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund (NYSEArca: EEM). VWO had outflows of $532.9 million, while EEM’s were $332.4 million.
Even junk bonds got caught in the cross hairs of investor anxiety, with the ETF market’s two biggest high-yield corporate debt funds—the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond Fund (NYSEArca: HYG) and the SPDR Barclays Capital High Yield Bond ETF (NYSEArca: JNK)—recording redemptions of $285.2 million and $132.8 million, respectively.
That said, other bond funds became safe havens for crisis-weary investors.
For example, the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (NYSEArca: BND) pulled in $294.2 million in new assets, and the iShares Barclays 1-3 Treasury Bond Fund (NYSEArca: SHY) added $227.9 million.
Also, the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond Fund (NYSEArca: LQD) gathered $290.2 million in fresh assets
Even precious metals—silver at least—attracted investors’ attention. The iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) pulled in $163.7 million.
However, gold didn’t make it onto IndexUniverse’s top 10 funds list.
To the contrary, the iShares Gold Trust (NYSEArca: IAU) was among the least popular ETFs, as investors sold gold earlier in the week, briefly pushing year-to-date price into the red. Flows out of IAU totaled $144.8 million.
The most popular ETF last week was the iShares S&P 500 Index Fund (NYSEArca: IVV), an asymmetrical presence on the creations list considering the broad anti-equities flavor in the markets. IVV pulled in $437 million in new assets.
Top 10 Creations (All ETFs)
Bottom 10 Weekly Performers, Excluding Leverage/Inverse Funds and <1,000 Shares Traded
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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