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10 Proactively Traded ETFs of First-Half 2020

Sweta Killa

Amid both peaks and troughs, the ETF industry is seeing explosive growth, courtesy of its unique strategies, creativity, transparency, diversification benefits, enhanced tax competences, low turnover and of course low cost. Additionally, rise in "thematic investing” and craze for “smart beta” has increased the popularity of ETFs.

Investors seek to trade in ETFs that can easily be purchased and sold on the market, suggesting that the funds 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 spread tight.

Further, greater volume ensures easy creation and redemption of shares in the fund basket, which is a regular and vital mechanism in ETFs. This is especially true as authorized participants 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.

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 (see: all the Category ETFs here).  

That said, we have highlighted 10 ETFs that have seen higher dollar volume so far this year and are thus the top 10 volume leaders of 1H 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 6% of the assets (read: Most Popular ETFs on Robinhood).

Zacks ETF Rank: #2 (Buy)
Aggregate YTD Volume: $4,570.3 billion
AUM: $276.5 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.09%
Top Sector: Information Technology (27.2%)
YTD Returns: -2.05%

Invesco QQQ QQQ

This product provides exposure to the 103 largest domestic and international companies, excluding financial stocks, by tracking the Nasdaq-100 Index. It is concentrated on the top three firms with a double-digit allocation each (read: Nasdaq is Burning Hot: How to Make the Most of it With ETFs).

Zacks ETF Rank: #1 (Strong Buy)
Aggregate YTD Volume: $1,342.6 billion
AUM: $116.1 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.20%
Top Sector: Information Technology (48%)
YTD Returns: 17.5%

iShares Russell 2000 ETF IWM

This ETF targets the small-cap segment by tracking the Russell 2000 Index and holds 1,960 stocks with each holding less than 0.8% of the assets.

Zacks ETF Rank: #3 (Hold)
Aggregate YTD Volume: $579.2 billion
AUM: $36.6 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.19%
Top Sector: Healthcare (22.7%)
YTD Returns: -13.1%

ProShares UltraPro QQQ TQQQ

This ETF provides three times the returns of the daily performance of the Nasdaq-100 Index.

Zacks ETF Rank: NA
Aggregate YTD Volume: $350.7 billion
AUM: $6.5 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.95%
Top Sector: Information technology (47.1%)
YTD Returns: 15.3%

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. It holds 1,141 securities, and effective duration and average maturity come in at 3.64 and 4.21 years, respectively.

Zacks ETF Rank #3
Aggregate YTD Volume: $344.5 billion
AUM: $28.4 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.49%
Top Sector: Communications (21.6%)
YTD Returns: -3.6%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF EEM

This fund targets emerging markets and follows the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. It holds 1,208 stocks in its basket, with none accounting for more than 7.2%.

Zacks ETF Rank #4 (Sell)
Aggregate YTD Volume: $333.7 billion
AUM: $22.3 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.68%
Top Sector: Financials (19%)
YTD Returns: -8.5%

iShares MSCI EAFE ETF EFA

This fund provides exposure to stocks in Europe, Australia, Asia and the Far East by tracking the MSCI EAFE Index. It holds 913 securities in its basket, with none holding more than 2.5% of assets.

Zacks ETF Rank #3
Aggregate YTD Volume: $267.8 billion
AUM: $46.6 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.32%
Top Sector: Financials (15.9%)
YTD Returns: -9.3%

iShares Core S&P 500 ETF IVV

This product tracks the S&P 500 index, holding 505 stocks with none accounting for no more than 6% of assets.

Zacks ETF Rank: #2
Aggregate YTD Volume: $260.1 billion
AUM: $196.1 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.04%
Top Sector: Information technology (27.2%)
YTD Returns: -2.1%

iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF LQD

This fund offers exposure to a broad range of U.S. investment grade corporate bonds by tracking the Markit iBoxx USD Liquid Investment Grade Index. It holds 2,246 securities in its basket with effective duration of 9.46 years and average maturity of 13.54 years (read: Corporate Bond ETFs Gain on Fed's New Initiatives).

Zacks ETF Rank: #2
Aggregate YTD Volume: $259.7 billion
AUM: $53.3 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.15%
Top Sector: N/A
YTD Returns: 5.7%

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 44 securities in its basket with effective duration of 18.92 years and average maturity of 25.86 years.

Zacks ETF Rank: #3
Aggregate YTD Volume: $251.9 billion
AUM: $18.2 billion
Expense Ratio: 0.15%
Top Sector: N/A
YTD Returns: 19.9%

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