Moreover, Treasury Inflation Protected Securities has done surprisingly well this year as investors tried to hedge their positions ahead of the eventual rise in inflationary pressures, especially with a dovish Fed fanning the flames of rising inflation expectations.
On the other hand, Japan and currency-hedged ETFs continued to bleed assets. The iShares MSCI Japan ETF (NYSEArca: EWJ) was the most unpopular ETF of April, experiencing almost $1.3 billion in net outflows. Additionally, the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DXJ) lost $679.4 million and WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: HEDJ) saw $636.3 million in outflows.
The exodus from Japan seems prescient as the Bank of Japan recently stated it won’t be changing its monetary policy, catching the markets off guard and triggering a sell-off in Japanese markets.
Meanwhile, with the Fed pushing off interest rate normalization, the U.S. dollar has weakened and foreign currencies have strengthened, diminishing the appeal of currency-hedged international stock ETFs.
Treasury bonds were also among the most shunned assets in the ongoing equity market recovery. For instance, the iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: SHY) saw $1.1 billion in outflows, the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: TLT) shrunk by $1 billion, iShares 3-7 Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: IEI) experienced $604.3 million in outflows and SPDR Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill (NYSEArca: BIL) lost $520.9 million. Investors have been moving out of government debt as yields on benchmark 10-year Treasury bonds rose to 1.84% from about 1.77% at the start of the month.
Lastly, while gold continued to shine, investors yanked $658.7 million out of SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD). Traders may be trying to trim profits after an impressive run, or some may argue that the trade has grown long in the tooth after the depreciation in the U.S. dollar and diminished need for a safe-haven bet.
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Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of SPY, LQD and GLD.