Total Return ETF’s Success: How Much Credit Goes to Gross?


Apparently, Bill Gross wasn’t just blowing smoke out of his keister when he talked up his PIMCO Toal Return ETF (NYSE:BOND, formerly TRXT) about six weeks ago.

In April, BOND rounded out 10th place on IndexUniverse’s “Top Gainers” list ranking ETF inflows, bringing in a solid $380 million, more than doubling its assets under management to $664.58 million — and that’s just in two months’ worth of life. But is the celebration Gross’s alone? Well, let’s take a look at the rest of the list.

Fund Ticker April Inflows April AUM
iShares Russell 2000 IWM $1.01 billion $15.61 billion
Industrial Select Sector SPDR XLI $649.75 million $3.40 billion
iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade
Corporate Bond
LQD $622.46 million $20.55 billion
Vanguard S&P 500 VOO $618.28 million $4.02 billion
Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets VWO $597.21 million $53.87 billion
Market Vectors Gold Miners GDX $505.08 million $8.23 billion
iShares iBoxx $ High Yield
Corporate Bond
HYG $505.08 million $15.08 billion
Vanguard REIT VNQ $488.99 million $12.29 billion
iShares S&P 500 IVV $386.74 million $30.19 billion
PIMCO Total Return BOND $380.14 million $664.58 million
Source: Index Universe

Conspicuously present in the list are the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond Fund (NYSE:LQD) fund and the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond Fund (NYSE:HYG) — that’s right, more income plays.

Also, it should be noted that IndexUniverse’s three “Biggest Losers” (ETFs with the worst outflows) represented the big three indices — the Nasdaq (NYSE:QQQ), S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) and Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSE:DIA), which saw outflows of $2.58 billion, $1.68 billion and $984.71 million, respectively.

At least at a glance, it looks less like Gross deserves an individual congratulations for BOND’s accomplishments, and moreso like the financial hermit crabs might have been latching onto the “sell in May and go away” mantra a bit early and heading toward safer waters.

Not that Gross’s name and performance don’t pull some weight.

Interestingly enough, the only index to really shine was the Russell 2000, through the iShares Russell 2000 Index ETF (NYSE:IWM) — which has struggled considerably in the past 52 weeks compared to its better-known brethren, and whose long-lasting divergence is considered by some to be a bad omen for the broader markets.

More about IndexUniverse’s “Top Gainers,” “Biggest Losers” and other fund news can be viewed here.

Kyle Woodley is the assistant editor of As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Follow him on Twitter at @KyleWoodley.

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