April was a turbulent month for U.S. stocks, but even more so for Treasurys. That much was reflected in the month’s inflows to exchange traded funds as equity-based funds hauled in over $9 billion, double the $4.5 billion that went into fixed income funds.
“As a result, equity ETFs have now seen $40.6 billion of inflows compared to $25.9 billion for fixed income through the first four months of the year. The noticeable rotation back into equity highlights that the start of year outflows in equity may have been driven more by seasonality, as opposed to a reversal in investor sentiment,” said State Street Global Advisors Head of Research David Mazza in a new research note.
Equity funds were in style last month, but that sentiment pertains almost exclusively to international ETFs as U.S.-focused ETFs bled $15.9 billion, according to State Street data. Currency hedged ETFs continued their torrid 2015 asset-gathering pace, adding $10 billion last month. [Big Appetite for International ETFs]
Of this year’s top 10 asset-gathering ETFs, four are currency hedged funds, including the top two; the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: HEDJ) and the Deutsche X-trackers MSCI EAFE Hedged Equity ETF (NYSEArca: DBEF). Three non-hedged international ETFs are also among the top 10 for added assets.
Investors added over $6.2 billion to single-country ETFs last month, helping further bolster growth of these funds, which are often favored by tactical advisors and investors. There are now more than 200 single-country ETFs with over $100 billion in combined assets trading in the U.S. [Huge Growth for Single-Country ETFs]
“With the U.S being out of favor in April, sector ETFs experienced outflows almost entirely across the board. Bottom-up earnings forecasts appear to have had no bearing on fund flows. For instance, even with nearly a 60% forecasted decline in year-over-year earnings growth, the energy sector attracted the most flows. Perhaps the 19% pop in the spot price of oil for the month was the catalyst that pushed energy past health care, a market darling, for the top spot in year-to-date sector flows,” according to State Street.