Feb. ETF Flows: DXJ Leads; GLD Bleeds

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Investors poured almost $8 billion into ETFs last month, with most of that into equities, especially WisdomTree's currency-hedged fund focused on Japan, which continues to rake in money benefiting from concerns that the yen's slide against the dollar will wipe out returns for U.S. investors.

Overall, total U.S.-listed ETF assets edged up to $1.426 trillion, helped also by a rise in stocks in February. Assets ended the month just shy of an all-time record of $1.437 trillion, and stood almost 19 percent higher than the $1.201 trillion year-earlier level-a clear sign that the ETF asset-gathering juggernaut is very much alive and well.

On the flip side, State Street Global Advisors' huge gold bullion fund (NYSEArca:GLD) was last month's least-popular ETF, a reflection of a chicken-or-the-egg type of feedback loop between falling gold prices and outflows that has damaged the popularity of the yellow metal at a time when many sense markets are finally normalizing nearly five years after the market collapse of 2008.

Another theme coursing through IndexUniverse's February flows report was the preponderance of fixed-income funds on our top redemptions list, another clear reflection that investors seem to be looking more aggressively at equities as the prospect of rising bond yields and rising official interest rates morphs from abstraction to tangible reality.

DXJ Still On Fire

The WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca:DXJ) was the most popular ETF in February, pulling in $1.77 billion in assets, according to data compiled by IndexUniverse.

DXJ, which has pulled in almost $3 billion so far this year, according to IndexUniverse's  ETF Fund Flows tool, has quickly grown into a $4.3 billion fund amid what appears to be a serious commitment on the part of Japanese leaders to cheapen the yen in a bid to stoke growth after nearly 25 years of tepid growth characterized by persistent deflationary pressure for the world's third-largest economy.

The ETF takes off the table the dollar-yen currency cross, effectively neutralizing the yen's slide against the greenback, which amounted to 17.8 percent in February and has totaled 6.22 percent so far in 2013.

How popular DXJ remains will be linked to how much of the jawboning by Japanese policymakers translates into actual yen-weakening policy moves.

Gold And Bonds On The Ropes?

The SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca:GLD), meanwhile bled $3.75 billion last month, dropping assets in the world's second-biggest ETF to just over $64 billion.

Also, a number of prominent bond funds suffered outflows, again suggesting investors are looking past the safety of fixed income as the economic recovery betrays signs of morphing into a bonafide expansion.

For example, the $21 billion iShares Barclays TIPS Bond Fund (NYSEArca:TIP) lost $1 billion in assets last month, and the two biggest junk bond funds did as well.

The $15 billion iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond Fund (NYSEArca:HYG) suffered outflows of $737 million and the $12 billion SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (NYSEArca:JNK) had redemptions of about $710 million, according to data compiled by IndexUniverse.

Flows By Asset And Total Flows Net Flows ($, mm) AUM ($, mm) % of AUM
U.S. Equity 3,705.02 665,313.56 0.56%
International Equity 5,056.53 356,733.48 1.42%
U.S. Fixed Income 956.84 228,120.76 0.42%
International Fixed Income 650.50 27,123.16 2.40%
Commodities - 3,809.05 109,085.26 -3.49%
Currency 39.69 2,771.35 1.43%
Leveraged - 272.47 13,253.57 -2.06%
Inverse 1,375.77 18,030.21 7.63%
Asset Allocation 178.10 2,858.85 6.23%
Alternatives 13.30 3,118.19 0.43%
Total: 7,894.24 1,426,408.40 0.55%
February 2013 Top Gainers ($, Millions)
Ticker Name Issuer Flows AUM ($, M) Turnover
DXJ WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity WisdomTree 1,771.63 4,312.64 3,000.05
IYR iShares Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate BlackRock 876.67 5,425.18 10,977.71
IWM iShares Russell 2000 BlackRock 818.66 19,219.24 55,492.34
VTI Vanguard Total Stock Market Vanguard 656.73 27,715.94 3,128.79
BSV Vanguard Short-Term Bond Vanguard 614.35 10,030.09 1,771.31
BKLN PowerShares Senior Loan Invesco PowerShares 591.52 2,499.80 1,417.70
VOO Vanguard S&P 500 Vanguard 462.67 8,199.13 2,392.12
USMV iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility BlackRock 423.61 1,715.79 342.08
IVV iShares Core S&P 500 BlackRock 417.91 37,504.42 11,595.70
IJH iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap BlackRock 395.47 15,609.83 1,749.67
February 2013 Biggest Losers ($, Millions)
Ticker Name Issuer Flows AUM ($, M) Turnover
GLD SPDR Gold SSgA - 3,746.78 64,041.59 41,509.71
SPY SPDR S&P 500 SSgA - 2,257.62 125,094.67 423,218.67
QQQ PowerShares QQQ Invesco PowerShares - 2,054.15 30,907.86 45,909.74
TIP iShares Barclays TIPS Bond BlackRock - 1,014.03 21,107.25 3,220.57
HYG iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond BlackRock - 737.16 15,077.94 6,973.17
FXI iShares FTSE China 25 BlackRock - 716.48 8,017.46 14,930.30
DIA SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average Trust SSgA - 715.22 10,399.84 16,080.03
JNK SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond SSgA - 710.02 12,066.71 4,939.84
EWZ iShares MSCI Brazil Capped BlackRock - 655.72 8,376.48 13,523.88
EEM iShares MSCI Emerging Markets BlackRock - 618.58 50,757.98 43,151.81

Biggest U.S. ETFs, February 2013 ($, Millions)
Ticker Name Issuer Flows AUM ($, M) Turnover
SPY SPDR S&P 500 SSgA - 2,257.62 125,094.67 423,218.67
GLD SPDR Gold SSgA - 3,746.78 64,041.59 41,509.71
VWO Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets Vanguard 178.37 60,544.71 16,781.44
EEM iShares MSCI Emerging Markets BlackRock - 618.58 50,757.98 43,151.81
EFA iShares MSCI EAFE BlackRock 34.94 41,438.12 22,373.03
IVV iShares Core S&P 500 BlackRock 417.91 37,504.42 11,595.70
QQQ PowerShares QQQ Invesco PowerShares - 2,054.15 30,907.86 45,909.74
VTI Vanguard Total Stock Market Vanguard 656.73 27,715.94 3,128.79
LQD iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond BlackRock - 358.23 24,038.01 4,983.82
TIP iShares Barclays TIPS Bond BlackRock - 1,014.03 21,107.25 3,220.57
Most Heavily Trade ETFs, February 2013
Ticker Name Issuer Flows AUM ($, M) Turnover
SPY SPDR S&P 500 SSgA -2,257.62 125,094.67 423,218.67
IWM iShares Russell 2000 BlackRock 818.66 19,219.24 55,492.34
QQQ PowerShares QQQ Invesco PowerShares -2,054.15 30,907.86 45,909.74
EEM iShares MSCI Emerging Markets BlackRock - 618.58 50,757.98 43,151.81
GLD SPDR Gold SSgA -3,746.78 64,041.59 41,509.71
VXX iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN Barclays Capital -61.47 1,077.42 22,957.17
EFA iShares MSCI EAFE BlackRock 34.94 41,438.12 22,373.03
XLF Financial Select SPDR SSgA 332.44 10,853.00 18,148.87
TLT iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond BlackRock 223.31 3,197.07 17,307.60
VWO Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets Vanguard 178.37 60,544.71 16,781.44

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This article appears in: Investing , ETFs

Referenced Stocks: DXJ , GLD , HYG , JNK , TIP

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