Equity ETF flows reflect “relative calm” in markets

Equity ETFsFlows into equity exchange-traded funds (ETFs) were significantly down in the first four months of the year compared to the same period in 2018 – but data suggests investor appetite for these passive equity products is growing.

Investments globally in equity ETFs totalled $71 billion for the four-month period until April 30 compared to $116.54 billion in the same period last year.

However, the bulk of this year’s equity inflows came during the month, when investors made $34.7 billion worth of net subscriptions, making equity products the most-sought after types of ETFs at a time when the S&P 500 finished the month up by 4.05%.

Overall flows into ETFs and wider exchange-traded products (ETPs) across asset classes during April were $45.4 billion.

Assets invested in ETFs and ETPs globally reached a record $5.6 trillion at the end of the month, an increase of 3.2% from March, according to ETFGI, an ETF research consultancy.

Fixed income ETFs and ETPs also enjoyed a positive month with $12.4 billion in inflows bringing the yearly total to $68.2 billion – a sharp increase compared to the same period last year which saw $33.6 billion of inflows for fixed income products by the end of April.

“Markets appear to have returned to the relative calm they had grown accustomed to over the past few years,” said Deborah Fuhr, ETFGI’s managing partner and founder.

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