Despite Thursday’s pullback, exchange traded fund flows suggest investors are in a risk-on rally mode as ETFs that track safe-haven assets have been experiencing redemptions.
The equities market have been bouncing back over the past month, with the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) rising 3.0%, as investors turned risk-on after stocks dipped into a correction.
The rebound this time around could stick as ETFs that track traditional safe-haven assets, like gold, U.S. Treasuries and even hard currencies, saw outflows during the market run up, which suggests that more investors have shifted out of a defensive position to capitalize on the market turn.
For instance, while the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) has been the most popular ETF play this year, attracting over $5.1 billion in net inflows, according to ETF.com, investors have recently been trimming their gold positions. Over the past month, GLD saw $443.6 million in net outflows.
In the currency markets, the Japanese yen and Swiss franc have been traditional safe-haven currencies. These markets are marked by their low volatility and relatively low inflation, both attractive attributes for currency traders seeking a safe port in stormy weather. However, traders have grown less enamored with these currencies. Over the past month, the CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (NYSEArca: FXY) saw $75.3 million in outflows and CurrencyShares Swiss Franc Trust (NYSEArca: FXF) lost $4.8 million over the past month.[related_stories]
U.S. Treasury bonds, one of the go-to safety plays during times of duress, have also been one of the most unloved assets in the past month. For example, the iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: IEF) lost $649.7 million, iShares 3-7 Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: IEI) shrunk by $615.4 million and iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: TLT) saw $209.1 million in outflows over the past month.
Additionally, the iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: SHY) experienced $1.0 billion in redemptions, iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: SHV) saw $827.2 million in outflows and SPDR Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill (NYSEArca: BIL) shrunk by $671.7 million in the past month. The outflows from these short-duration Treasury bond ETFs, which have been utilized as liquid cash alternatives in the past, suggests that larger investors may have trimmed cash holdings to deploy money into more attractive investments.