Exchange traded funds that follow safe haven sectors such as gold and U.S. Treasuries declined last week and saw money outflows as risk appetite in markets improved.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in a speech Friday left open the possibility of additional stimulus at the Fed meeting in September. [Stocks Rise After Bernanke Speaks]
Investors withdrew assets from SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) and PowerShares DB Double Long Gold ETN (NYSEArca: DGP) later in the week.
Over $3 billion flowed out of SPDR Gold Shares on Wednesday and Thursday. The gold ETF briefly eclipsed SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) as the largest ETF in terms of assets.
The outflows are not particularly surprising as gold corrected notably after touching a recent high on Monday. GLD traded as high as $184.82 a share and eventually fell as low as $165.88 early on Thursday’s session. GLD did however recover somewhat over the past two sessions, closing well off its low at $177.47 on Friday. [How Risky are ‘Safe-Haven’ ETFs?]
We note that GLD is still trading well above its 50-day moving average ($159.45) from a technical standpoint, and it has not fallen below its 50-day MA since mid-June.
In other activity, we saw increased volumes in fixed income ETFs, specifically with inflows to mortgage-backed securities and outflows in U.S. Treasury bonds, including inflation-protected bonds.
The iShares Barclays MBS Bond Fund (NYSEArca: MBB) took in well over $200 million in new assets on increased trading volumes. [ETF Chart of the Day: Mortgage-Backed Securities]
Meanwhile, iShares Barclays TIPS Bond (NYSEArca: TIP) and iShares Barclays 20+ Year U.S. Treasury (NYSEArca: TLT) lost assets as investors redeemed from both funds.
It is unclear of what motivated such flows, as it could be a tactical fixed income shift across portfolios of one or several large institutional managers. Also in the fixed income space, we witnessed creation activity, or asset inflows in Vanguard Total Bond Market (NYSEArca: BND) last week.