May ETF Flows: Fear Returns As Pimco’s MINT Shines

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Fear returned to financial markets in May, as exchange-traded fund investors fled riskier assets and piled into safer havens such as gold and, notably, Pimco's money-market proxy ETF, "MINT," which added nearly $600 million and finally put the biggest bond-fund manager in the world on the ETF map, according to data compiled by IndexUniverse.com

The single-biggest winning fund was the State Street Global Advisors SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEArca:GLD), which added $4.22 billion in assets, bringing the total to $49.21 billion, as fiscal problems in the eurozone disrupted some of the cautious optimism that had been growing among investors. The so-called flash crash on May 6 also rattled investors' nerves and fueled the flight-to-safety trade.

May's surprise story was Pimco's Enhanced Short Maturity Strategy Fund (NYSEArca:MINT), an actively managed fund that hauled in $596.4 million in new assets. That was the lion's share of the Newport Beach, Calif.-based firm's $622 million in new ETF assets, and helped bring Pimco's total ETF assets under management to $1.55 billion, a nearly 50 percent increase over April's total.

Bookending the top 10 losing funds last month were the PowerShares QQQ (NYSEArca:QQQQ), the Nasdaq 100 ETF, which suffered worst-in-class outflows of $2.36 billion; and SSgA's Dow Diamonds SPDR ETF (NYSEArca:DIA) which was No. 10 in redemptions at $333.8 million. The Nasdaq fund now has $18.42 billion in assets, while DIA has $8.05 billion. In the middle, investors fled ETFs tracking volatility and growth.


Biggest Losers ($, Millions)

Ticker Name Issuer May Flows AUM at 5/31/2010 May Turnover
QQQQ PowerShares QQQ Invesco PowerShares -2,363.28 18,415.74 142,968.15
VXX iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN Barclays Capital -1,030.67 1,110.64 23,927.93
VNQ Vanguard REIT Vanguard -567.86 5,344.32 4,358.68
VXZ iPath S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures ETN Barclays Capital -535.89 635.70 1,293.66
IJK iShares S&P Mid Cap 400 Growth BlackRock -397.07 2,330.25 1,127.66
MDY SPDR S&P MidCap 400 SSgA -393.04 8,684.00 17,705.78
FAZ Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3x Direxion -357.76 939.43 29,420.73
UUP PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish Invesco PowerShares -342.81 1,126.78 3,148.30
IVW iShares S&P 500 Growth BlackRock -337.90 4,843.33 1,593.20
DIA Dow Diamonds SSgA -333.83 8,049.39 45,230.11

iShares Still Rules The Roost

MINT's strong showing almost single-handedly pushed Pimco up to become the 15 th -biggest U.S. ETF firm from 19 th -biggest last month.

As you would expect, most of the top places on the league tables were unchanged in May. While BlackRock, parent of iShares, saw redemptions of $1.28 billion in May, it still stood atop the ETF world with $368.24 billion in assets.

SSgA held on to its No. 2 spot, adding $6.03 billion, most of it from its gold fund GLD. Its assets totaled $195.01 billion at the end of last month.

Vanguard again rounded out the top three, with $2.49 billion in new assets, bringing its total to $103.06 billion.

Top Gainers ($, Millions)
Ticker Name Issuer May Flows AUM at 5/31/2010 May Turnover
GLD SPDR Gold SSgA 4,218.83 49,205.77 61,010.91
SPY SPDR S&P 500 SSgA 2,418.60 70,632.17 869,462.45
VWO Vanguard Emerging Markets Vanguard 2,000.25 23,943.14 18,175.06
EEM iShares MSCI Emerging Markets BlackRock 970.73 33,207.34 106,092.35
GDX Market Vectors Gold Miners Van Eck 869.11 7,177.27 16,975.52
USO United States Oil US Commodities Funds 779.11 2,147.43 14,184.81
FAS Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3x Direxion 712.86 1,450.45 37,920.28
TBT ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury ProShares 627.22 5,160.00 12,609.40
MINT PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Strategy PIMCO 596.43 774.23 113.48
SHY iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasury Bond BlackRock 543.98 8,394.92 2,748.69

VWO Train Still Chugging

Vanguard's biggest draw continued to be its MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca:VWO), which added $2.00 billion, with total assets now at $23.94 billion. That's below last month's total of $24.24 billion, a reflection of the negative performance that gripped all global equities markets last month.

While VWO remains the fifth-biggest U.S. ETF, it is still on track to overtake iShares' MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund (NYSEArca:EEM) by the end of the year. For the moment, EEM remains the single-biggest emerging markets fund. EEM attracted $970.7 million, bringing its total assets to $33.21 billion, also lower than last month's total.

Still, EEM crawled up one slot last month to become the third-biggest U.S. ETF. It switched places with the iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (NYSEArca:EFA), which is focused on industrialized countries outside of the U.S. and Canada.

Even though EFA added $30 million in assets last month, it ended May with $31.83 billion in assets, a drop of more than 11 percent caused by the sell-off last month.

The biggest U.S. ETF remained the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca:SPY), which gathered $2.42 billion in new assets. But SPY also lost ground in the correction, with total money at $70.63 billion at the end of May, compared with $74.44 billion a month earlier.

The No. 2 ETF was SSgA's GLD. As noted above, the gold fund benefited from the anxiety coursing through financial markets, adding $4.22 billion to lift total assets to $49.21 billion.


ETF Giants ($, Millions)

Ticker Name Issuer May Flows AUM at 5/31/2010 May Turnover
SPY SPDR S&P 500 SSgA 2,418.60 70,632.17 869,462.45
GLD SPDR Gold SSgA 4,218.83 49,205.77 61,010.91
EEM iShares MSCI Emerging Markets BlackRock 970.73 33,207.34 106,092.35
EFA iShares MSCI EAFE BlackRock 30.04 31,828.88 44,300.00
VWO Vanguard Emerging Markets Vanguard 2,000.25 23,943.14 18,175.06
IVV iShares S&P 500 BlackRock 264.44 21,513.11 14,942.36
TIP iShares Barclays TIPS Bond BlackRock -158.89 20,167.79 2,631.50
QQQQ PowerShares QQQ Invesco PowerShares -2,363.28 18,415.74 142,968.15
VTI Vanguard Total Stock Market Vanguard -29.66 13,722.87 3,304.89
IWM iShares Russell 2000 BlackRock 397.15 13,501.81 152,403.18

Most Traded Funds

SSgA's SPY remained the most traded ETF, with a turnover of $869.46 billion in May, while the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (NYSEArca:IWM) was in the No. 2 slot at $152.40 billion.

Rounding out the top three was the PowerShares QQQ at $142.97 billion in turnover.

Liquidity Mavens

Ticker Name Issuer May Flows AUM at 5/31/2010 May Turnover
SPY SPDR S&P 500 SSgA 2,418.60 70,632.17 869,462.45
IWM iShares Russell 2000 BlackRock 397.15 13,501.81 152,403.18
QQQQ PowerShares QQQ Invesco PowerShares -2,363.28 18,415.74 142,968.15
EEM iShares MSCI Emerging Markets BlackRock 970.73 33,207.34 106,092.35
GLD SPDR Gold SSgA 4,218.83 49,205.77 61,010.91
XLF Financial Select Sector SPDR SSgA 494.22 6,963.62 53,714.53
SDS ProShares UltraShort S&P500 ProShares -136.85 3,533.05 49,710.62
EWZ iShares MSCI Brazil BlackRock -329.21 9,189.03 46,822.52
DIA Dow Diamonds SSgA -333.83 8,049.39 45,230.11
EFA iShares MSCI EAFE BlackRock 30.04 31,828.88 44,300.00

Don't forget to check IndexUniverse.com's ETF Data section.

Copyright ® 2010 Index Publications LLC . All Rights Reserved.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , ETFs


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