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.
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
. 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
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
. 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
secured the top spot, pulling in over $3.7 billion.
Other major inflow recipients included the
iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund
, with $2.9 billion;
, with $1.8 billion; and
iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond Fund
, 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
welcomed over $600 million, while
iShares Gold Trust
Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners
had net inflows totaling $92 million and $43 million respectively. Big name gold miners were avoided, however. The
Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF
closed out October with $36 million in outflows.
Whereas investors showed some interest in gold, silver was shunned. With over $200 million heading for the exits,
iShares Silver Trust
scored a spot among the top 15 outflow recipients. Silver miners were unpopular as well. The
Global X Silver Miners ETF
suffered $15 million in net outflows.
Silver was not the only commodity that was avoided. On the contrary, as evidenced by the substantial outflows seen from products like the
United States Oil Fund
PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund
, and the
PowerShares DB Base Metals Fund
futures-backed commodities ETFs of all types received the cold shoulder from investors.
Interestingly, however, at the same time investors were flowing out of these futures-backed funds, they were showing interest in equity-backed ETFs aimed at commodity producers. Investors ploughed between $100 million and $450 million into products such as the
SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF
Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF
SPDR S&P Energy ETF
As indicated by October's flow data, investors have regained some confidence. However, looming macroeconomic issues facing regions like the EU continue to pose a threat. In the month ahead, it will be interesting to see how the various factors facing the developed world will impact investor preferences for ETFs.
Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management owned the PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund, iShares Gold Trust and PowerShares QQQ.