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ETFs Find Footing in October

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- October was an impressive month for the global marketplace. With European fears waning and investors regaining an appetite for risk, major U.S. market indices managed to find footing and recover a respectable chunk of the losses in August and September.

Upward market action, combined with easing investor jitters boded well for the ETF universe. According to the flow data compiled by the National Stock Exchange, total ETF assets rose last month, recapturing the $1 trillion mark.

Industry leaders Blackrock (BLK) and State Street (SST) led in asset growth in October, gathering $10 billion and $8 billion respectively. Vanguard and PowerShares were notable inflow recipients as well, ending October with $2 billion in net inflows a piece.

Not every ETF sponsor was in the black. Deutsche Bank and ProShares led in terms of outflows, watching as $400 million and $270 million fled for the exits. PIMCO, U.S. Commodities Funds, and Merrill Lynch's HOLDRs each witnessed over $100 million in outflows as well.

The bulk of ProShares' outflows can be traced back to investor disinterest in the ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TBT). The fund's $413 million in net outflows indicated that, despite improving market conditions, investors remain unwilling to shed their exposure to safe haven assets. The iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond Fund (TLT) welcomed $100 million in October.

Although TBT's outflows were substantial, they were dwarfed by those seen from the iShares Barclays Short Treasury Bond Fund (SHV). With just under $850 million in net outflows, this fund easily topped the list of ETF losers.

Despite the fact that investors appeared reluctant to part with their defensive assets, risk fell back into favor. In an attempt to take advantage of the market's strength, funds designed to track emerging markets, U.S. equities, and high yield bonds proved to be popular destinations. iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund (EEM) secured the top spot, pulling in over $3.7 billion.

Other major inflow recipients included the iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund (IWM), with $2.9 billion; PowerShares QQQ (QQQ), with $1.8 billion; and iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond Fund (HYG), which saw drew nearly $1.1 billion.

Precious metals saw mixed action in October. Despite back-and-forth action much of the month, investors piled into ETFs linked to gold. SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) welcomed over $600 million, while iShares Gold Trust (IAU) and Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners (GDXJ) had net inflows totaling $92 million and $43 million respectively. Big name gold miners were avoided, however. The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) closed out October with $36 million in outflows.

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