Despite sizable gains by fixed-income exchange-traded funds, the U.S. ETF market as a whole actually got a little bit smaller in April, shedding about $5.3 billion in assets — or about 0.4% — by the end of the month. Still, the industry maintains about $1.2 trillion in assets across 1,246 ETFs.
Click to EnlargeThe chart on the right provides a look at the past decade in U.S. ETF asset growth, courtesy of State Street’s (NYSE:STT) State Street Global Advisors division.
Income was the name of the game in April, as fixed-income ETFs led all categories in the month with $4.9 billion (2.4%) in inflows — and have gained more than $20 billion year-to-date. Dividend/fundamental ETFs brought in just more than $1 billion (1.8%).
Investors fled large-cap stocks to a tune of about $4.5 billion (2.2%), with financial funds suffering the highest outflows at $634 million (5.3%). However, small-cap ETFs saw more than $1 billion (3.7%) in inflows.
The broader flows reflect a trend also illustrated by IndexUniverse’s “Top Gainers” list of most and least popular funds (based on inflows): namely, a move toward secure fixed income, but also riskier small-caps. Bill Gross’ PIMCO Total Return ETF (NYSE:BOND) was among three income funds cracking the top 10 heaviest inflows, and the iShares Russell 2000 Index ETF (NYSE:IWM) was the most popular fund of all. Meanwhile, the major index ETFs suffered significant outflows.
BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) remained the biggest player with almost a half-trillion in assets across its 276 ETFs, good for a 41.8% market share. State Street had $287 billion in assets across 112 products for a 24.1% share. And Vanguard oversaw about $208 billion for a 17.4% share.
Kyle Woodley is the assistant editor of InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Follow him on Twitter at @KyleWoodley.