ETFs Traded at Discounts During Post-Fed Sell-Off: Report

June 21st at 8:45am by John Spence

Many ETFs traded below fair value during Thursday’s global sell-off triggered by worries the Federal Reserve will pull back on monetary easing, the Financial Times reports.

Discounts widened sharply on Thursday as dealers had trouble keeping up with an avalanche of sell orders, according to the article.

Emerging market ETFs were particularly affected as shares of iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (NYSEArca: EEM) traded at a 6.5% discount to net asset value, according to the FT.

However, it isn’t clear yet whether the reported discount was simply due to time-zone differences, or an operational issue with EEM. ETFs tracking foreign stocks trade in the U.S. while the underlying markets are closed. A spokeswoman for iShares didn’t immediately return a request for comment Friday morning.

EEM was trading at a discount of about 1% in early U.S. trading Friday, according to Morningstar data.

“The selling also caused disruptions in the plumbing behind several ETFs. Citigroup stopped accepting orders to redeem underlying assets from ETF issuers, after one trading desk reached its allocated risk limits,” the FT reported.

Meanwhile, ETF provider State Street said it would cease accepting cash redemption orders for muni bond products from dealers, although in-kind redemptions were still taking place, according to the story.

Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own EEM.

Story updated.

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