Among the least popular ETF plays over the past week, the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) saw $976 million in net outflows, iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: TLT) experienced $702 million in outflows, iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility ETF (NYSEArca: USMV) lost $224 million and iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: IEF) trimmed $171 million, according to XTF data.
Gold and U.S. Treasuries have traditionally acted as safe haven plays during periods of increased volatility, with investors turning to the more stable assets to ride out any storms. Meanwhile, the low-volatility, smart beta ETF play has also grown in popularity in recent years as a way to maintain stock exposure for the more conservative investor.
However, these safety plays have become less popular in face of a falling volatility and an ongoing U.S. bull market that is being fueled by strong corporate earnings.
Around 57% of S&P 500 companies have reported second quarter results and 73% of those that have reported also beat the their estimates, with a blended growth rate of 9.1%, according to FactSet data.
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