Markets
IVV

10 Most-Heavily Traded ETFs of 2018

An image of a globe with financial data surrounding it
Credit: Shutterstock photo

Thanks to the rise in "thematic investing" and craze for "smart beta," the ETF industry is seeing explosive growth in terms of both AUM and launches. The rapid growth can be traced back to unique strategies, creativity, transparency, diversification benefits, enhanced tax competences, low turnover and most importantly - low cost (read: 8 New Successful ETFs of 2018 ).

In particular, investors seek to trade in ETFs that can easily be purchased and sold on the market, suggesting that the ETF should have enough liquidity. Volume, or the number of shares traded in a particular period, is definitely the most important consideration for determining the liquidity of a particular fund. A higher number of shares provides easy access to move in and out of the product, keeping the bid/ask spreads tight.

Further, greater volume ensures easy creation and redemption of shares in the fund basket, which is a regular and vital mechanism in ETFs. This is especially true as authorized participants (AP) have the ability to create new baskets of ETF shares for underlying securities or redeem them when required. This phenomenon allows ETFs to trade in line with their net asset value (NAV) (see: all the Category ETFs here ).

Nevertheless, assessing just the number of shares is not a profitable task, as a higher number of cheaper funds can be bought for a given amount of money, leading to increased volumes. As a result, honing in on dollar volume ETFs will reveal the true picture of liquidity. Dollar volume measures the number of shares traded multiplied by share price.

That said, we have highlighted 10 ETFs that have seen higher dollar volume this year and are thus the top 10 volume leaders of 2018 as per xtf.com .

SPDR S&P 500 ETF SPY

This fund tracks the S&P 500 index and holds 505 well-diversified stocks in its basket with each holding less than 3.7% of the assets (read: Not a Merry Christmas for Wall Street: Bet on These ETFs ).

Zacks ETF Rank: #2 (Buy)

Aggregate YTD Volume: $6,441.6 billion

AUM: $230.1 billion

Expense Ratio: 0.09%

Top Sector: Information Technology (20%)

YTD Returns: -11.00%

Invesco QQQ QQQ

This product provides exposure to the 103 largest domestic and international companies, excluding financial stocks, by tracking the Nasdaq-100 Index. It is concentrated on the top three firms that make up for more than 9% of the assets each.

Zacks ETF Rank: #2

Aggregate YTD Volume: $1,935 billion

AUM: $57.7 billion

Expense Ratio: 0.20%

Top Sector: Information Technology (42.4%)

YTD Returns: -7.4%

iShares Russell 2000 ETF IWM

This ETF targets the small-cap segment by tracking the Russell 2000 index and holds 2034 stocks with each holding less than 0.4% of the assets.

Zacks ETF Rank: #3 (Hold)

Aggregate YTD Volume: $888.9 billion

AUM: $38.2 billion

Expense Ratio: 0.19%

Top Sector: Financials (18.3%)

YTD Returns: -16.5%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF EEM

This fund targets emerging markets and follows the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. It holds 951 stocks in its basket, with none accounting for more than 5% share (read: Emerging Markets on a Rebound? 5 ETFs Seeing Big Inflows ).

Zacks ETF Rank: #3

Aggregate YTD Volume: $838.8 billion

AUM: $28.9 billion

Expense Ratio: 0.69%

Top Sector: Financials (25.1%)

YTD Returns: -17.3%

iShares MSCI EAFE ETF EFA

This fund provides exposure to the stocks in Europe, Australia, Asia and the Far East by tracking the MSCI EAFE Index. It holds 935 securities in its basket, with none holding more than 1.75% of assets.

Zacks ETF Rank: #3

Aggregate YTD Volume: $490.3 billion

AUM: $61.2 billion

Expense Ratio: 0.31 %

Top Sector: Financials (19.2%)

YTD Returns: -16.6%

Financial Select Sector SPDR XLF

The fund targets the broad financial segment and follows the Financial Select Sector Index. It holds 67 stocks in its basket, with double-digit allocation to the top two firms - Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.B) and JPMorgan Chase (read: Profit From Bearish Financial Sector With Inverse ETFs ).

Zacks ETF Rank: #1

Aggregate YTD Volume: $416.7 billion

AUM: $21.1 billion

Expense Ratio: 0.13%

Top Sector: N/A

YTD Returns: -19.1%

iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF HYG

This ETF offers exposure to a broad range of U.S. high yield corporate bonds by tracking the Markit iBoxx USD Liquid High Yield Index. Holding 974 securities, effective duration and average maturity come in at 3.96 and 5.16 years, respectively.

Zacks ETF Rank: #5 (Strong Sell)

Aggregate YTD Volume: $342.5 billion

AUM: $12.1 billion

Expense Ratio: 0.49%

Top Sector: Communications (23.7%)

YTD Returns: -3.8%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN VXX

This ETN provides exposure to short-term equity market volatility by following the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index Total Return with the help of the CBOE Volatility Index futures contracts.

Zacks ETF Rank: N/A

Aggregate YTD Volume: $379 billion

AUM: $1.3 billion

Expense Ratio: 0.89%

Top Sector: N/A

YTD Returns: 76.8%

iShares China Large-Cap ETF FXI

This fund provides exposure to a basket of 52 Chinese large cap stocks by tracking the FTSE China 50 Index. It is concentrated on its top five holdings (read: China's Manufacturing Stalls in November: ETFs in Focus ).

Zacks ETF Rank: #3

Aggregate YTD Volume: $305.8 billion

AUM: $5.6 billion

Expense Ratio: 0.74%

Top Sector: Financials (46.4%)

YTD Returns: -14.2%

iShares Core S&P 500 ETF IVV

Like SPY, this fund also follows the S&P 500 index, holding a well-diversified 505 securities in its basket.

Zacks ETF Rank: #2

Aggregate YTD Volume: $310.3 billion

AUM: $139 billion

Expense Ratio: 0.04%

Top Sector: Information Technology (19.9%)

YTD Returns: -10.5%

Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox?

Zacks' free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week. Get it free >>

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

SPDR-FINL SELS (XLF): ETF Research Reports

ISHARS-CHINA LC (FXI): ETF Research Reports

IPATH-SP5 VX ST (VXX): ETF Research Reports

ISHARS-EMG MKT (EEM): ETF Research Reports

ISHARS-SP500 (IVV): ETF Research Reports

ISHARS-R 2000 (IWM): ETF Research Reports

EMG MKT FREE AS (EFA): ETF Research Reports

ISHARS-IBX HYCB (HYG): ETF Research Reports

NASDAQ-100 SHRS (QQQ): ETF Research Reports

SPDR-SP 500 TR (SPY): ETF Research Reports

To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

Zacks Investment Research

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

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


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

In This Story

IVV XLF FXI EEM

Other Topics

ETFs

Latest Markets Videos

    Zacks

    Zacks is the leading investment research firm focusing on stock research, analysis and recommendations. In 1978, our founder discovered the power of earnings estimate revisions to enable profitable investment decisions. Today, that discovery is still the heart of the Zacks Rank. A wealth of resources for individual investors is available at www.zacks.com.

    Learn More