Short-Duration Treasury ETF Sees Outflows as Fees Top Yield

August 13th at 1:59pm by John Spence

Investors have pulled over $900 million from iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasury Bond Fund (NYSEArca: SHY) the past month as the short-duration ETF’s meager yield gets swallowed up by its management fee.

The outflows coincide with a rally in stocks. The selling could mean some institutional investors are are moving into riskier assets and leaving safe havens. Or maybe they’re just fed up with rock-bottom yields.

SHY is “one of the least risky investments that can be made,” says Timothy Strauts at Morningstar in an analyst report on the ETF. “Given the short duration and low yields, we view this as a substitute for a cash account.”

The iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasury Bond Fund has a 30-day SEC yield of 0.12%, according to manager BlackRock, which is more than the 0.15% expense ratio.

The $9 billion ETF has experienced $904 million of outflows the past month, according to XTF.com.

The Federal Reserve’s bond-buying programs and the flight to safety have kept Treasury yields extremely low, which punishes savers and investors who want steady income.

For example, the average five-year CD yield stood at 1.05% on August 9, according to Bankrate.com.

“If you’re a CD investor desperate for a decent yield, you’re probably not alone. CD rates have largely ceased to be a viable income investment these days thanks to record low yields,” wrote Claes Bell in a recent Bankrate article.

The average money market account yield was 0.12% on August 9.

iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasury Bond Fund

Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own SHY.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of John Spence, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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