U.S.-listed exchange traded funds have tallied another $50 billion growth spurt in the first quarter as broad stock indices strengthened and broke records.
In March, investors funneled $16.9 billion into ETFs, lifting first-quarter total asset inflows to $53.1 billion, writes ETF analyst Micahel Rawson for Morningstar. U.S.-listed ETFs have gathered over $50 billion in four of the past five quarters.
U.S.-stock related funds topped the inflows over March, bringing in $11.2 billion. Bond ETFs still attracted investment interest with an additional $4.8 billion. On the flip side, international stocks saw $2.7 billion in outflows and commodities lost $2.4 billion.
Over the first quarter, U.S.-stock ETFs attracted $16.4 and bond ETFs, international stock ETFs added $16.0 and bond ETFs brought in $8.3 billion. Commodities, though, saw $6.9 billion in outflows.
Among U.S. stock ETFs, Morningstar found large value and small blend themes attracted strong inflows for the quarter, including iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility (NYSEArca: USMV), which had inflows of $1.7 billion, and iShares Russell 2000 Index (NYSEArca: IWM), which attracted $3.4 billion. Dividend ETFs also attracted heavy interest, with Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (NYSEArca: VIG) bringing in $1.2 billion. However, PowerShares QQQ (NasdaqGM: QQQ) saw $1.1 billion in outflows.
Short-duration bond and bank loans were popular themes within the fixed-income space over the first quarter. For instance, Vanguard Short-Term Bond ETF (NYSEArca: BSV) brought in $2.2 billion and the PowerShares Senior Loan Portfolio (NYSEArca: BKLN) expanded by $1.5 billion. Meanwhile, intermediate- and long-term bonds saw outflows, including iShares Barclays TIPS Bond (NYSEArca: TIP), which lost $1.5 billion, and iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Coroporate Bond (NYSEArca: LQD), which contracted by $1.4 billion.
Investors also funneled $2.7 billion into alternative ETF strategies, with inverse equity ETFs and volatility-linked funds making a comeback.