Low Vol ETF Leads PowerShares 2012 Inflows

Highlighting investors' affinity for low volatility ETFs, Invesco's (NYSE:IVZ) PowerShares unit, the fourth-largest U.S. ETF issuer, said Tuesday the PowerShares S&P 500 Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSE:SPLV) lead all PowerShares ETFs in terms of 2012 inflows.

The PowerShares S&P 500 Low Volatility Portfolio, arguably the king of low volatility ETFs, raked in over $2.1 billion in fresh assets last year to end the year with nearly $3.1 billion in assets under management, according to PowerShares data. SPLV, which debuted in May 2011, had almost $3.3 billion in AUM as of February 5, 2013.

SPLV is comprised of the 100 S&P 500 members with lowest trailing 12-month volatility. Not surprisingly, that means the ETF is heavy on utilities and consumer staples names as those sectors account for almost 31 percent and nearly 27 percent of the fund's weight.

Top SPLV holdings currently include Clorox (NYSE:CLX), Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB) and General Mills (NYSE:GIS).

Underscoring the notion that investors' thirst for yield was strong last year, seven of the top-10 PowerShares ETFs in terms of 2012 inflows have yields that can be considered decent. SPLV currently sports a 30-day SEC yield of three percent.

The PowerShares Emerging Markets Sovereign Debt Portfolio (NYSE:PCY) and the PowerShares Senior Loan Portfolio (NYSE:BKLN), both of which hauled more than $1 billion in assets last year, each have 30-day SEC yields of 4.08 percent.

The PowerShares Preferred Portfolio (NYSE:PGX), which has a 30-day SEC yield of 6.08 percent, was also among the top-10 asset gatherers for PowerShares in 2012.

The PowerShares DB US Dollar Bullish Fund (NYSE:UUP) was by far the PowerShares hit by the highest level of outflows as investors pulled $1.16 billion from the U.S. Dollar Index tracking ETF last year. UUP ended 2012 with $689 million in assets, but that number has since fallen to $634 million, according to PowerShares data.

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