Exchange-traded-fund assets topped the $400 billion mark in November.
According to a report by State Street Global Advisors, about $18 billion flowed into ETFs during the month , bringing total assets to roughly $407 billion, an increase of 4.7% over the previous month and 34.8% for the year to date.
Here's where investors put their money in November: About $5.6 billion flowed into international products, bringing total assets in that category to nearly $96 billion. For the year through Nov. 30, international ETF assets are up more than 50%.
There are currently 54 international products on the market (13 of which launched this year) but many more are expected to roll out in the next few months by ETF sponsors including State Street, PowerShares and WisdomTree.
Investors poured another $3.8 billion into style ETFs -- meaning ETFs with either a value or growth bent -- bringing total assets to $51.77 billion. Assets in this category are up about 38.6% so far this year. Flows into value-oriented ETFs have been strongest, outpacing growth-oriented ETFs by about $1 billion.
Another category leader for the month was size-based ETFs, meaning ETFs that target large-, mid-, small- or micro-cap securities. Assets rose by $3.4 billion for November to $152.6 billion - making it by far the biggest ETF category. For the year-to-date, assets are up 14.7%.
The biggest increase in this category was in large-cap ETFs, which gained $118.4 million. Small-cap ETFs had a small outflow. But mid-caps ETFs were the strongest performers, returning an average of 4.1% for the month, followed by small-caps, which returned 3.2%. Small-cap ETFs have seen the biggest returns for the year to date, up 17%. (Returns are based on Dow Jones Wilshire indices.)
Commodity ETFs took in about $2.2 billion of new money in November, while specialty ETFs, which include dividend-related, social, clean energy, leveraged and fundamentally weighted indices, took in $1.1 billion.
Assets in sector products had modest growth of $682 million. Materials, technology and REIT ETFs were the only categories that had positive asset flows for the month. Healthcare ETFs had the biggest outflows, followed by financials, industrials and utilities. However, short interest for the month decreased in the utility and financial sectors. (Unlike open-end mutual funds, ETFs can be sold short, meaning an investor hopes to benefit from a decline in the price.)
Broad-based products, fixed-income, global and currency products had modest asset growth in November.
The top three ETFs in terms of dollar volume for the month were the
S&P 500 SPDR
, which is also the largest ETF with $66 billion in assets, the
iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund
Other strong daily dollar volume leaders included the
Energy Select SPDR
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund
It was also a big month for product launches, as 15 new ETFs came to market. Rydex launched nine, both State Street and Claymore launched two and Vanguard and Barclays each launched one.
There have been 140 ETF launches this year and several hundred more ETFs are still in registration with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
. The total number of ETFs trading in the U.S. now stands at 344.