Reporters often write about records, but context can change the meaning of those records.
The Wall Street Journal's
Chris Dieterich covered record ETF outflows in August, and is now offering some of that context to help readers understand what that record really means. Though August was the worst month in history for ETF outflows, at $17.5 billion compared to $17.1 billion in January 2010, but the number doesn't come close to a record when compared to overall assets in ETF, Dieterich writes.
The outflows accounted for 1.1 percent of ETF assets, as $1.5 trillion is held in ETFs, Dieterich writes, which is actually less of a chunk than 2.2 percent of the $800 billion in total ETF assets in 2010. Looking back further, Dieterich reports, the June 1994 outflow of $162 million accounted for 29 percent of the ETF industry's assets.
Dieterich also pointed to another important factor in the data. The bulk of last month's outflows came from the $136 billion
State Street Bank & Trust
] SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust
lost $14 billion or 80 percent of total U.S. outflow.
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