ETF Assets Down Nearly 4% in August

According to State Street Global Advisors’ ETF Snapshot report, exchange-traded fund assets fell $42 billion in August, down 3.8%.

This dip comes after positive inflows seen in June and July (see “ETF Flows Positive in July“). Both the MSCI EAFE Index and the S&P 500 Index fell, losing 9% and 5.4%, respectively. Commodities also suffered, with the S&P GSCI Index down 1.8%, even though Gold soared 11.4%. U.S. Bonds were also positive with the Barclays U.S. Treasury up 2.8% and the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index up 1.5%.   

ETF flows topped $2 billion in August. The Fixed Income category continued to see positive inflows attracting $4.8 billion in the month and $23.6 billion year-to-date. With $2.9 billion leaving the category, the International – Emerging category saw the most significant outflows.   

Concerning market performance, International – Developed and Emerging Markets declined 9% and 8.9%, respectively. Domestic Large Cap, Mid Cap and Small Cap Markets all continued to decline, dropping 5.4%, 7.1%, and 7.7%, respectively. Conversely, the U.S. Aggregate, the U.S. Treasury, and the U.S. Corporate bond markets were all positive in August. Commodities dipped 1.8%.   

According to SSgA data, 1,116 ETFs with assets totaling $1 trillion were managed by 36 ETF managers as of August 31, 2011.  The top three managers in the U.S. ETF marketplace were BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard. Collectively, they account for approximately 83% of the U.S.-listed ETF market.   

The top three ETFs in terms of dollar volume traded for the month were the SPDR S&P 500 [SPY], iShares Russell 2000 [IWM], and SPDR Gold Shares [GLD]. The top three ETFs in terms of assets for the month were the SPDR S&P 500 [SPY], SPDR Gold Shares [GLD], and Vanguard Emerging Markets [VWO].