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Is This the Beginning of the End for Dividend ETFs?

So far this year, it's all outflows
Armageddon. Well, maybe not quite yet.

Armageddon. Well, maybe not quite yet.

Photographer: Walt Disney Co./Everett Collection

Dividend ETFs are on fire, and not in a good way.

Exchange-traded funds that employ a variety of strategies to invest in dividend-paying stocks have been a no-brainer since the financial crisis, as income investors have confronted artificially low interest rates. But after years of inflows that swelled assets to $100 billion, dividend ETFs have seen an outflow of $2 billion this year. If that isn't quite apocalyptic, it is scary, and if it keeps up, this will be the first year of outflows ever.