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U.S. ETF Flows Do the Safety Dance in May

A look at recent market performance and asset flows through an ETF lens in the U.S.

Ben Johnson 18 June, 2020 | 14:17

Global financial markets continued to claw back from their coronavirus-crisis lows in May 2020. At month-end, the Morningstar Global Markets Index--a broad gauge of global stock markets--had rebounded 40% from its recent low and sat just 12% below its mid-February peak. Fixed-income markets have also normalized. The Morningstar US Core Bond Index was within spitting distance of its nearby highs as of the end of May. Here, I will take a closer look at how the major asset classes performed, where investors were putting their money, and whether there are bargains left after markets have bounced back--all through the lens of exchange-traded funds.

Broad-Based Gains

May's gains were widespread. Of the 2,133 nonleveraged exchange-traded products in Morningstar's U.S. database, just 140 (6.5%) posted losses for the month. Prominent among the losers were ETFs that invest Hong Kong stocks. The Hong Kong market came under pressure in late May after the U.S. indicated it might revoke Hong Kong's special trade status in response to China's move to implement new national security laws within the city. At one point, the iShares MSCI Hong Kong ETF (EWH) was down as much as 9.3% in response to this news.

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About Author

Ben Johnson  Ben Johnson, CFA is the Director of Passive Fund Research with Morningstar.

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