March exchange traded fund (ETF) numbers are nothing short of mad. How apropos. Strong market performance last month coupled with growing investor interest helped propel ETFs to a new record level of assets.

Assets in U.S. listed exchange traded funds (ETF) and exchange-traded notes (ETN) totaled a record of approximately $819.8 billion at March 2010 month-end. This is an increase of approximately 68% over March 2009, when assets totaled $489.1 billion.

At this rate, ETFs are on track to hit $1 trillion well before the end of the year. They surpassed $1 trillion globally at the end of 2009.

More tidbits:

  • At the end of March 2010, the number of listed products totaled 971, compared to 839 listed products at the end of March 2009.
  • March 2010 net cash inflows from all ETFs/ETNs totaled approximately $20.3 billion. [Our March ETF Performance Report.]
  • U.S equity and fixed-income categories both showed strong growth with $12.3 billion and $4.7 billion respectively in net inflows for March 2010.

The flow of assets into both equities and fixed-income suggests that investors have more of a risk appetite, but they’re not entirely willing to bet the house just yet. This economic recovery may be a spotty one, and several risks loom as interest rates are hiked and stimulus packages and incentives are scaled back. [Why It’s Time to Approach Bond ETFs Differently.]

For more stories about ETF performance, visit our ETF Performance Reports category.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, 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.