Exchange traded funds have grown to become an important cog in the global financial system, averaging more than 30% of total trading volume in the markets.

With about $1 trillion in assets, a common argument is just how much ETFs are influencing the markets they track.

A new report attempts to quantify the impact that the low-cost investment vehicles are having on their underlying holdings.

According to a new study conducted by the Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), stock prices are being influenced by ETF trades, notably those in real estate investment trusts (REITs), energy, and consumer companies, reports Christopher Condon for Bloomberg.

Robert D. Boroujerdi, a Goldman Sachs analyst, and three colleagues, note that REITs and energy mid-cap companies made up eight of the top 10 companies in the S&P 500 that are seeing trading volume influenced by ETF trades.

Consumer retailers were five of the most affected in the Russell 20oo Index, with more than three companies that showed more than 60% of their volume affected by ETFs. Smaller companies that have low levels of liquidity and cheap prices were affected the most, writes Karina Frayter for CNBC.

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