Global exchange-traded funds rose $687.2 billion through the first four months of 2019 to about $5.5 trillion. Much of that appreciation can be attributed to market power, with most major global equity indexes up year-to-date. Over the period, the S&P 500 index, which more than 15% of all ETF assets track, was up 17.5%.
Inflows to ETFs have also added to their collective record high as rolling 12-month inflows have shown upward momentum though the first third of the year. 2019's abrupt reversal in new client money follows a 2018 of mostly declining new asset growth. There had not been a single month of net outflows since March 2014; June 2018 was the closest it got, when inflows dipped to $5.8 billion.
Recent data from the Investment Company Institute show that about two-thirds of the net inflows went into fixed-income-focused ETFs through May 15. U.S. equity funds have historically been the focus of new money inflows, but they have had recent periods of outflows counter to the rest of the market. Data through the first two weeks of May show $16 billion of net outflows.