Following inflows of $15.6 billion in November to bring year-to-date inflows to $154 billion, exchange-traded funds are on track to match or exceed 2008’s record-setting inflows of $168.3 billion, according to a report issued today by Morningstar Inc.
Flows in 2012 have been dominated by taxable-bond ETFs, which saw an additional $3.9 billion in new capital added in November, bringing total net inflows for the year to date to $48 billion, surpassing any previous year, according to Michael Rawson, ETF analyst for Chicago-based Morningstar and author of the report.
International stock ETFs also saw strong inflows last month, attracting $5.2 billion in new money.
After seeing strong inflows earlier in the year, high-yield bond ETFs saw outflows for the second-straight month. Rawson said investors may be locking in profits after a strong run up in high-yield bonds and positioning their fixed-income portfolios for heightened uncertainty as the country heads toward the "fiscal cliff."
The largest fund in the category is iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond, up 11.9 percent this year through November. The high-yield group saw $812 million in outflows last month. Meanwhile, investors sought the perceived safety of Treasury bonds, as the long-term government-bond and intermediate-term government-bond categories added $600 million and $774 million, respectively. I Shares Barclays 3-7 Year Treasury Bond attracted nearly $1 billion for the month.