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1H Asset Flow Roundup: What's Hot & What's Not

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Stocks across the globe have suffered their worst first half in a year since 2010, wiping out trillions of dollars from the MSCI’s 47-country world index.

A combination of tariff tantrums, broad tech sell-off, the prospect of end to the cheap money era and cooling growth in many parts of the economy including Europe and Japan resulted in huge capital outflows from the market. Additionally, the strength in the U.S. dollar, which had its best first half in three years, added to the woes (read: Top & Flop ETF Areas of Q2).

However, strong corporate earnings, accelerating economic growth, Trump’s tax cuts and higher oil price continued to support the stocks.

Per etf.com, overall ETFs gathered about $121.27 billion capital in the first half of 2018 with U.S. fixed income ETFs leading the way with $40.69 billion inflows, closely followed by $36.15 billion in U.S. equity ETFs and $31.13 billion in international equity ETFs.

Fixed Income ETFs Gained Love

The fixed income world gained investors' love amid persistent stock market volatility and higher yields. The 10-year Treasury yield touched its highest level since 2011, topping 3% in mid-May and then retreating below the highest level. Investors seeking protection from rising rates poured money into lower-dated bond ETFs like iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF (SHV - Free Report) , floating rate bonds like iShares Floating Rate Bond ETF (FLOT - Free Report) and investment-grade focused bonds like iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF AGG. These bond ETFs gathered $6.9 billion, $3.8 billion and $3.8 billion, respectively. SHV has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold).

However, rising yields and the prospect of further rates hike have dampened the appeal for high yield ETFs like iShares iBoxx USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG - Free Report) , iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD - Free Report) and SPDR Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (JNK - Free Report) .The trio has a Zacks ETF Rank #4 (Sell)(read: June Rate Hike in the Cards: ETFs to Win & Lose).

U.S. Equity ETFs Still Attracts

After peaking in the first month of the year, Wall Street was caught in a vicious circle of volatility that stemmed from inflationary expectations and trade war fears. The tension between the United States and some of its major trading partners has shaken the market in the past four months. Amid this uncertainty, a few equity ETFs managed to attract investors.

This is especially true given that Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO - Free Report) and iShares Core S&P 500 ETF IVV have accumulated$5.8 billion and $4.5 billion, respectively. This was followed by inflows of more than $3.4 billion for iShares Edge MSCI U.S.A. Momentum Factor ETF (MTUM - Free Report) and iShares Core S&P Small Cap ETF (IJR - Free Report) each. VOO, IVV and IJR have a Zacks ETF Rank #2 (Buy) (read: 6 Small-Cap ETFs That Have Surged to #1 Rank in Summer).

SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY - Free Report) is leading the redemptions list with nearly $20.8 billion in outflows. This fund also has a Zacks ETF Rank #2.

International ETFs Doing Seesaw

Despite the fact that escalating trade war tensions and surge in dollar faded the appeal for international investing in recent months, a few developed and emerging market ETFs were able to gather enough money in the first half (read: Best Performing Single-Country ETFs of 1H).

The iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF IEFA topped the list of asset creation, pulling in nearly $18.1 billion in capital, followed by inflows of $8 billion for iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF IEMG and $4.7 billion for Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF VEA. On the other hand, iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA - Free Report) , iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM - Free Report) and iShares MSCI Eurozone ETF (EZU - Free Report) saw outflows of $8.9 billion, $5.5 billion and $4.1 billion, respectively.

IEFA, VEA and EFA target the developed market while IEMG and EEM offer exposure to emerging markets. EZU provides access to Euro zone stocks. All these funds have a Zacks ETF Rank #3.

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