International ETFs Start 2013 with Solid Inflows

ETF Trends

A well-benchmarked index, the MSCI EAFE, has a prominent ETF that tracks it, EFA (iShares MSCI EAFE, Expense Ratio, 0.34%), which currently has more than $41 billion in assets under management and averages approximately 16 million shares traded on a daily basis.

The ETF has reeled in north of $400 million in the past several sessions, giving it total inflows of approximately $1.06 billion year to date as it continues its new found momentum. A related ETF, EFV (iShares MSCI EAFE Value, Expense Ratio 0.40%) has attracted $200 million in new assets YTD to its own right.

EFA has lagged the U.S. equity market as measured by the S&P 500 Index for example, by a large margin over the trailing 5 year period but has narrowed that gap significantly especially with its recent short term relative strength and closing at multimonth highs. [Emerging Market ETF Volatility Lowest Since 2013]

EFA is a well-traveled ETF, having debuted back in 2001, and we generally see considerable “regular” action in the underlying options as portfolio managers establish hedges if not enact outright directional strategies via the contracts.

VEA (Vanguard Europe Pacific, Expense Ratio 0.12%) is the second largest ETF in terms of assets under management in the “Developed Markets” category, but it has considerably less funding currently than the behemoth EFA, at about $11 billion today.

EFV is now the third largest in the category, with north of $1.8 billion in AUM after the recent inflows. With EFA/EFV/VEA largely trading near their highest price levels since the summer of 2011, it will be especially interesting to see if there is room for additional upside at these levels, or if a recent developing pattern of institutional put accumulation is telling.

It is no surprise that top “region” components of these indexes, with heavy weightings to Europe (62.42% of EFA) and Japan (19.83%) are also trading at recent inflows and related linked ETFs are also pulling in assets as of late.

iShares MSCI EAFE

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For more information on Street One ETF research and ETF trade execution/liquidity services, contact Paul Weisbruch at pweisbruch@streetonefinancial.com.

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