by Sumit Roy
Fresh investor buying helped equity markets advance to new multiyear highs this past week, as the Federal Reserve signaled it would keep monetary policy accommodative for a while longer. Commodity exchange-traded products weren't left out of the buying spree; $750 million of new capital flowed into the space, helping send total assets to $179 billion.
But like last week, individual sector performance varied significantly. Once again, inflows were heavily tilted toward precious metals ETPs, in which investors added $682 million. The other sectors—including energy, broad market, industrial metals, and agriculture—didn't fare nearly as well, with net inflows of $122 million, $120 million, $12 million, and outflows of $186 million, respectively.
It's also worth noting that while inflows into precious metals ETPs totaled $682 million in the period, total assets rose by a more substantial $3.9 billion, thanks to capital appreciation from surging gold and silver prices.
Turning to individual products—unsurprisingly—precious-metals-related ETPs dominated, taking four of the top five spots for net inflows. Interestingly, however, the Energy Select SPDR Fund (NYSE Arca: XLE) was No. 1, with $370 million in inflows. We can likely attribute this to a modest reversal of some of the $1.7 billion in outflows the fund has seen over the past couple of weeks.
One fund that has received a lot of attention recently, ProShares UltraShort Silver (NYSE Arca: ZSL), found itself on the inflows list for a second week, as more and more traders attempt to time the top in silver prices. All told, $201 million of capital entered the fund, the week's third-highest total.
Also on the top creations list were the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE Arca: GDX), the PowerShares DB Precious Metals Fund (NYSE Arca: DBP) and the iPath Dow Jones-UBS Precious Metals Subindex Total Return ETN (NYSE Arca: JJP), with $207 million, $190 million and $118 million in inflows, respectively.
The outflows list this week was quite diverse. Ironically, the iShares Silver Trust (NYSE Arca: SLV) led with $189 million in outflows, as investors took profits. PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund (NYSE Arca: DBA), the United States Oil Fund (NYSE Arca: USO), the iPath Dow Jones-UBS Cotton Subindex Total Return ETN (NYSE Arca: BAL) and the United States Natural Gas Fund (NYSE Arca: UNG) followed with $129 million, $94 million, $85 million and $70 million in outflows, respectively. Incidentally, over the past month, investors have pulled over $900 million from the United States Oil Fund.
Taking a look at price performance for the week, silver ETPs dominated for a second week as the white metal rocketed to a record high. But the No.1 spot went to the Elements Credit Suisse Global Warming ETN (NYSE Arca: GWO), which rose by 13.84 percent. This, however, is a highly volatile product, so you shouldn't read too much into its movements.
The UBS E-TRACS CMCI Silver Total Return ETN (NYSE Arca: USV), ETFS Physical Silver Shares (NYSE Arca: SIVR), iShares Silver Trust (NYSE Arca: SLV) and PowerShares DB Silver Fund (NYSE Arca: DBS) followed, with returns of 9.17 percent, 7.14 percent, 7.12 percent and 7.01 percent, respectively.
Ag-related ETPs made up the bulk of the bottom price performers list this week. The iPath Dow Jones-UBS Cotton Subindex Total Return ETN (NYSE Arca: BAL) fell 9.64 percent as cotton prices plunged. The UBS E-TRACS CMCI Livestock Total Return ETN (NYSE Arca: UBC) fell 4.21 percent, and the iPath Dow Jones-UBS Softs Subindex Total Return ETN (NYSE Arca: JJS) dropped 3.98 percent.