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10 ETF Volume Leaders of 2017

Sweta Killa
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The ETF industry has seen explosive growth in terms of both AUM and launches thanks to unique strategies, novel concepts, transparency, diversification benefits, enhanced tax competence, less turnover and low cost (read: Why ETFs Are Thriving in 2017).

In particular, investors seek to trade in ETFs that can easily be purchased and sold on the market, suggesting that the ETF should have enough liquidity. Volume, or the number of shares traded in a particular period, is definitely the most important consideration for determining the liquidity of a particular fund. A higher number of shares provides easy access to move in and out of the product, keeping the bid/ask spreads tight.

Further, greater volume ensures easy creation and redemption of shares in the fund basket, which is a regular and vital mechanism in the ETF. This is especially true as authorized participants (AP) have the ability to create new baskets of ETF shares for underlying securities or redeem them when required. This phenomenon allows ETFs to trade in line with their net asset value (NAV) (see: all the Category ETFs here).

Nevertheless, assessing just the number of shares is not a profitable task, as a higher number of cheaper funds can be bought for a given amount of money, leading to increased volumes. As a result, honing in on dollar volume ETFs will reveal the true picture of liquidity. Dollar volume measures the number of shares traded multiplied by share price.

That said, we have highlighted 10 ETFs that have seen higher dollar volume this year and are thus the top 10 volume leaders of 2017 as per xtf.com.

SPDR S&P 500 ETF SPY

This fund tracks the S&P 500 index and holds 505 well-diversified stocks in its basket with each holding less than 4% of the assets.

Zacks ETF Rank: #3 (Hold)
Aggregate YTD Volume: $4,327.2 billion
AUM: $277.3 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.09%
Top Sector: Information Technology (24%)
YTD Returns: 21.8%

PowerShares QQQ QQQ

This product provides exposure to the 106 largest domestic and international companies, excluding financial stocks, by tracking the Nasdaq-100 Index. It is concentrated on the top firm, Apple, which makes up for 12.1% of the assets (read: 4 Top ETF Areas of Q4).

Zacks ETF Rank: #2 (Buy)
Aggregate YTD Volume: $985.7 billion
AUM: $57.9 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.20%
Top Sector: Information Technology (61.3%)
YTD Returns: 33.3%

iShares Russell 2000 ETF IWM

This ETF targets the small-cap segment by tracking the Russell 2000 Index and holds 1987 stocks with each holding less than 0.42% of the assets (read: Best Small-Cap ETFs of 2017 with Huge Upside in 2018).

Zacks ETF Rank: #3
Aggregate YTD Volume: $922.6 billion
AUM: $43.9 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.20%
Top Sector: Financials (17.9%)
YTD Returns: 15.2%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF EEM

This fund targets emerging markets and follows the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. It holds 858 stocks in its basket, with none accounting for more than 5.53% share.

Zacks ETF Rank: #3
Aggregate YTD Volume: $540.7 billion
AUM: $38.6 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.72%
Top Sector: Information Technology (26.8%)
YTD Returns: 35.3%

Financial Select Sector SPDR XLF

The fund targets the broad financial segment and follows the Financial Select Sector Index. It holds 67 stocks in its basket, with double-digit allocation to the top two firms Berkshire Hathaway Inc. BRK.B and JPMorgan Chase JPM (read: 4 Sector ETFs & Stocks Set to Explode Higher on Tax Cuts).

Zacks ETF Rank: #2
Aggregate YTD Volume: $395.6 billion
AUM: $32.8 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.14%
Top Sector: N/A
YTD Returns: 22.2%

iShares MSCI EAFE ETF EFA

This fund provides exposure to the stocks in Europe, Australia, Asia and the Far East by tracking the MSCI EAFE Index. It holds 935 securities in its basket, with none holding more than 1.75% of assets.

Zacks ETF Rank: #3
Aggregate YTD Volume: $298 billion
AUM: $83.8 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.32%
Top Sector: Financials (21.1%)
YTD Returns: 24.7%

VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF GDX

This product tracks the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index, which measures the performance of companies involved in the gold mining industry. Holding 51 stocks, it is guilty of concentration on the top firm, Newmont Mining (NEM), with double-digit allocation.

Zacks ETF Rank: N/A
Aggregate YTD Volume: $292.2 billion
AUM: $7.9 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.51%
Top Sector: N/A
YTD Returns: 11.8%

iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF TLT

This fund provides exposure to long-term Treasury bonds by tracking the ICE U.S. Treasury 20+ Year Bond Index. It holds 33 securities in its basket with effective duration of 17.64 years and average maturity of 25.91 years (read: November ETF Asset Report: U.S. Tops, Treasuries Flop).

Zacks ETF Rank: #4 (Sell)
Aggregate YTD Volume: $258.3 billion
AUM: $7.3 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.15%
Top Sector: N/A
YTD Returns: 7.7%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN VXX

This ETN provides exposure to short-term equity market volatility by following the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index Total Return with the help of the CBOE Volatility Index futures contracts.

Zacks ETF Rank: N/A
Aggregate YTD Volume: $258.3 billion
AUM: $1 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.89%
Top Sector: N/A
YTD Returns: -72.8%

iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF HYG

This ETF offers exposure to a broad range of U.S. high yield corporate bonds by tracking the Markit iBoxx USD Liquid High Yield Index. Holding 1019 securities, effective duration and average maturity come in at 3.63 and 4.24 years, respectively (read: ETFs to Gain/Lose if Fed Turns Hawkish for 2018).

Zacks ETF Rank: #4
Aggregate YTD Volume: $239.4 billion
AUM: $17.7 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.49%
Top Sector: Communications (24.1%)
YTD Returns: 5.9%

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