A number of key takeaways can be observed from investing in
2013. These include a boom in the U.S. stock markets, a drawn-out
period of speculation regarding the QE Taper, a turnaround in Japan
helped by 'Abenomics', the Eurozone's return to growth, a horrid
run in Gold-based products and a slump in emerging markets.
Following the footsteps of the stock market, the ETF industry has
hauled in plenty of money so far in 2013 with a lot of smart
launches across the asset classes. In such a scenario, we take a
look at some top-and-bottom asset generators of the year.
Japan-based funds along with the S&P 500 focused-products were
the star performers in terms of asset gathering this year.
Top AUM Gainers in 2013 ($, Million)
YTD Inflows ($M)
||SPDR S&P 500
||WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity
||iShares MSCI Japan
||Vanguard FTSE Europe
*Source: Indexuniverse (as of December 22, 2013)
U.S. stock markets hit new highs repeatedly this year. The S&P
500 index gained 24% making the
SPDR S&P 500 (
a clear winner of 2013 hauling in about $13 billion in 2013 to
amass an asset base of about $169 billion so far.
This is largely thanks to the Fed's easy monetary policy which
turned investors' attention to riskier assets like equities,
improving economic conditions, better job and inflation data and
decent corporate earnings growth.
The runner-up was the
WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity
) tracking the Japan Hedged Equity Index, pulling in around $9.5
billion and amassing around $12.3 billion thus far. Since the
beginning of the year, Japan turned out to be a top market for
Along with 'Abenomics', a reform initiative introduced by the
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe early this year, modest overseas
recovery also played a vital role in the nation's recent
The economy ended a long string of deflation in
June this year
. Also, weakness in the Japanese currency relative to the greenback
led to an export boom in Japan. All of these culminated in a share
price rally which pushed up the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index to a
six-month peak. The benchmark Nikkei gained an impressive 48% in
Another Japan-oriented fund, the
iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund
took the spot of third place as it accumulated about $7.0 billion
in assets in 2013 to reach a total of $13.5 billion.
Vanguard FTSE Europe
) - the fourth most popular ETF - saw an inflow of around $6.8
billion. With many European countries emerging from the crisis that
hit two years ago, investing in Europe again took front and centre
All the major indexes including the leading blue chip index for the
Euro zone - EURO STOXX 50 Index - are trading near five-year highs
Ride Europe Higher with This Top Ranked ETF
Discussed below are the products which investors tended to avoid
during 2013. The table lists funds which lost assets considerably
during the said period.
Biggest Losers 2013 ($, Million)
||iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond
||Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets
The SPDR Gold Shares
), tracking Gold Bullion, saw around $24.6 billion in outflows and
stood at $31.3 billion in total assets at the end of December 22,
2013. The product has been downbeat since the beginning of the
year. Growing optimism surrounding the U.S. economy leading to the
taper concerns dulled the appeal of the yellow metal (Read:
Pain or Gain Ahead for Gold Mining ETFs?
iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond
) shared the same fate. It witnessed $8.7 billion in redemptions.
The taper threat raised yields on the U.S. Treasury 10-year note (
as of December 20, 2013, compared with 1.66% early in May) (Read:
Long-Term Treasury Bond ETF Investing 101
After that comes
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets
) fund, tracking the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. It saw asset
drainage of about $8.0 billion to $46 billion in the YTD frame.
Concerns of slower growth in some emerging markets and the expected
cessation of the cheap dollar on account of 'Taper' concerns might
have resulted in assets gushing out of the fund.
A firm dollar has also pushed the emerging market funds lower and
could cause more outflows in 2014 as well (read:
Can the Malaysia ETF Bounce Back in 2014?
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