Following a lethargic start to 2014, inflows to exchange traded products are finally showing signs of life, but there are still an array of ETFs that investors have not been shy about pulling cash from.
“Thus far in 2014, ETF flows have been about as predictable as Alec Baldwin in front of a paparazzi’s lens. The overall year-to-date numbers, with inflows of $8.0 billion, are well below the +$10 billion monthly run rate we’re used to seeing from this portion of the money management industry. U.S. listed ETFs didn’t get to $1.7 trillion in assets under management by growing a few billion dollars a month. In the last month, however, the picture has improved considerably,” says Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group, a global brokerage company based in New York.
Bond ETFs have been major contributors to ETF inflows this year, a sign of investors’ waning interest in riskier assets to this point. Earlier this month, Colas said, “Of the $14.2 billion in total ETF inflows (and $18.3 ex-SPY) for February, bond ETFs have garnered $17.4 billion of those flows. Which is to say: essentially all of them.”[Believe It: ETF Outflows]
Leaders among fixed income ETF asset gatherers include the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (NYSEArca: BND), iShares Core Total U.S. Bond Market ETF (NYSEArca: AGG), Vanguard Short-Term Bond ETF (NYSEArca: BSV) and the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEArca: LQD).
Commodities ETFs, though small contributors on a dollar basis, have impressed relative to the staggering outflows endured by those products last year.
“The real turnaround has been in commodity funds, especially those dedicated to precious metals. The one month numbers are small here – just $1.6 billion in aggregate, but that’s a notable shift from the $23.4 billion in outflows over the past year,” said Colas.