ETFs Exhibit Orderly Trades in Volatile Conditions

MarketsETF Trends

Despite the sudden bout of volatility in equities that pushed markets down into a correction territory, ETFs operated more or less in an orderly fashion.

“Overall, ETF trading was orderly and investors turned to ETFs to express their views in a fast-changing market,” according to a BlackRock note.

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On Tuesday, total equity volumes hit $677 billion, surpassing the $622 billion traded during the Monday selling, according to BlackRock data. U.S.-listed ETF volumes was $260 billion Tuesday, or 38% of total U.S. equity trading volume. Meanwhile, U.S. iShares ETFs traded at 316% of their averaged daily volume, or $69 billion in shares exchanging hands.

After the Thursday sell-off, the S&P 500 was down 10% from the last month’s highs. Meanwhile, iShares ETFs traded at 215% their average daily volume while the broader U.S.-listed ETFs traded at 253% average daily volume and equities traded at 176% averaged daily volume.

“ETFs helped, not hurt, during this selloff,” Matthew J. Bartolini, Head of SPDR Americas Research for State Street Global Advisors, said in a note.

Looking at US equities-related funds in aggregate, there was $11 billion of gross primary market activity or the absolute value of creations/redemptions on Monday, which reflects the activity where it would necessitate any impact at the stock level, according to State Street data. For instance, there was $340 billion of trading volume on the underlying stocks in the Russell 3000 Index, so US equity ETFs only traded 3.3% of overall trading volume in the underlying market.

“So did ETFs broadly negatively impact the selloff? No. How can something that represents 3% of the market lead to the market falling more than 4% on a single day? ETFs performed their role as a market tool for price discovery, allowing investors to make capital allocation decisions in real time based on the market environment,” Bartolini added.

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