Additionally, the Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) also saw $843.7 million in outflows so far this year. Investors may have grown increasingly wary of bank ledgers after oil prices plunged to 12-year lows and the outlook for highly leveraged energy producers grows more uncertain.

On the other hand, the plummeting oil prices have also attracted traders trying to catch a falling knife. For instance, investors funneled $463.5 million into the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE) year-to-date. XLE has declined 28.6% over the past year and dipped 11.9% so far this year as crude oil futures slipped to their lowest since 2003, which may have enticed some bargain hunters to begin easing back into an oversold market.

ETF investors also sought other traditional defensive picks during the recent market distress. The Consumer Staples Select SPDR (NYSEArca: XLP) saw $579.6 million in inflows, Utilities Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLU) added $647.6 million and Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLV) brought in $168.6 million year-to-date. [Defensive Consumer Sector ETFs for a Volatile Year]

Max Chen contributed to this article.