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April ETF Asset Report

The appeal of equities brightened in April, as the broader market steadied to start Q2 after a choppy Q1. Stabilization in oil prices, a softer dollar on a still-dovish Fed and signs of recovery in the Chinese economy – the root of the global market rout – acted as tailwinds. Let’s find out which corners of the ETF world created assets and which shed (per etf.com) (read: Best and Worst ETF Areas of April):

U.S. Equities ETFs: The Bright Corner

The S&P 500 was on radar as investors flocked to Vanguard S&P 500 (VOO). The fund garnered about $865.9 million in assets in the month. This is a clear indication of restored confidence in the riskier asset segments. U.S. equities ETF, iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM), which looks to track the performance of the small-cap U.S. equities, attracted about $862.5 million in assets.

However, investors should note that though the risk appetite returned, earnings recession and risks of global shocks are still keeping investors wary. Probably this is why iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility (USMV) was also in play in the month as investors poured about $1.17 billion into it (read: 4 ETF Strategies that Deny "Sell in May and Go Away").

Corporate Bond ETFs Are Back

Since yields on the 10-year U.S. Treasury were subdued in April, the lure for intermediate and long-term corporate bond ETFs returned. Corporate bonds generally yield higher than treasuries. Thus, iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond (LQD) attracted about $1.20 billion in assets in the month.

Assets also flooded the aggregate bond space. Vanguard Total Bond Market (BND) and iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond (AGG) accumulated about $834.6 million and $829.6 million, respectively, in assets in the month.

TIPS Bonds in Favor

As confidence slowly built up in an improving outlook on inflation, TIPS bonds hogged investors’ attention in April. As a result, iShares TIPS Bond (TIP) amassed about $825.1 million in assets.

Nasdaq-100 in Trouble

April witnessed a barrage of downbeat technology earnings, which actually stoked fears about the sector. PowerShares QQQ (QQQ), which is based on the Nasdaq-100 Index and invests about 55% of its assets in the information technology sector, saw assets worth $1.52 billion flowing out.

Japan ETFs: Massive Loser

A deluge of downbeat economic readings and a stronger yen (strength by virtue of its safe haven nature) threw Japan equities ETFs out of investors’ favor. Japan is an export-driven economy, being more susceptible to adverse currency translation (read: IMF Cuts GDP Outlook for Japan; ETFs in Trouble?).

iShares MSCI Japan (EWJ) lost about $1.29 billion in assets. Negative currency movement dented currency-hedged Japanese equities ETFs like WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity (DXJ) which saw assets worth $573.2 million flowing out. The problem was the same with the currency hedged Europe equities ETF WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity (HEDJ). The fund lost about $636.3 million in assets in April.

U.S. Treasuries Fall Out

Return of risk-on sentiment undermined investors’ interest in U.S. treasuries. As a result, iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond (SHY), iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond (TLT) and iShares 3-7 Year Treasury Bond (IEI) saw about $1.12 billion, $858.6 million and $667 million in assets shedding out, respectively (read: Bull Market for Bond ETFs Coming to an End?).

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ISHARS-MS US MV (USMV): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-IBX IG (LQD): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-TIPS BD (TIP): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-JAPAN (EWJ): ETF Research Reports
 
WISDMTR-J HEF (DXJ): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-1-3YTB (SHY): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-20+YTB (TLT): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-3-7YTB (IEI): ETF Research Reports
 
VANGD-TOT BOND (BND): ETF Research Reports
 
NASDAQ-100 SHRS (QQQ): ETF Research Reports
 
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