Record ETF Inflows in First Quarter

NEW YORK ( TheStreet Ratings) -- Each month, the ETF Industry Association) analyzes the assets under management and the net cash flow data for a growing list of U.S. exchange-traded funds. The net cash inflow of $55.9 billion in the first quarter of 2012 set a new record high above all other first quarter results.

The popularity of exchange-traded products continues to grow with both long-term investors and speculative traders. At $1.21 trillion as of March 31st, the assets under management in exchange-traded products, including both exchange-traded funds and exchange-traded notes, has grown by 12% over Mar. 2011. All of the asset and flow data included in this article was released on Wednesday, Apr. 4th by the ETF Industry Association.

In Mar. 2012 alone exchange-traded net inflows topped $13.2 billion. Of that total, $7.5 billion flowed into long U.S. equity funds with $251 million flowing out of short U.S. equity funds. Global and international equity ETFs were also strong in March with $1.6 billion in inflows. This was topped by the $4.1 billion flowing into long fixed income ETFs. Real estate fund flows remained positive at $443 million. Recent strength in the U.S. dollar sent $216 million out of long commodity ETFs and $484 million out of long currency ETFs.

Some of the largest Mar. 2012 inflows included $3.6 billion to SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY), $735 million to Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets ( VWO), $779 million to PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ), $697 million to iShares S&P 500 ( IVV), and $579 million to Vanguard S&P 500 ( VOO).

Some of the largest Mar. 2012 outflows included $1.5 billion from iShares Russell 2000 ( IWM), $1.2 billion from iShares MSCI-EAFE ( EFA), $1.2 billion from MidCap SPDR ( MDY), and $688 million from iShares MSCI-Brazil ( EWZ).

-- Reported by Kevin Baker in Jupiter, Fla.

For additional Investment Research check out our Ratings Research Center.

Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TheStreet Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by TheStreet.com, covering equity and mutual fund ratings. He joined the Weiss Group in 1997 as a banking and brokerage analyst. In 1999, he created the Weiss Group's first ratings to gauge the level of risk in U.S. equities. Baker received a B.S. degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. with a finance specialization from Nova Southeastern University.

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