Bond ETFs Attracted Record U.S., Global Inflows in First Quarter

  • BlackRock says the funds pulled in $43.7 billion worldwide
  • Money shifted toward riskier assets as the quarter progressed

Exchange-traded funds that invest in fixed income attracted record deposits in the first quarter.

Bond ETFs had inflows of $43.7 billion globally and $31.8 billion in the U.S. in the first three months of the year, according to a report Wednesday from BlackRock Inc. BlackRock’s iShares unit is the world’s leading provider of ETFs, funds that trade throughout the day like stocks.

In the first six weeks, money flowed primarily to ETFs that buy government bonds as investors looked for a haven while stock markets sold off. Beginning in the second week of February, inflows shifted to ETFs that buy corporate and emerging-market debt, according to the report by Stephen Cohen, BlackRock’s global head of fixed-income beta.

Five of the 10 U.S. ETFs that have attracted the most cash in 2016 invest in fixed income, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Among the bond funds, the iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF gathered the most money, $3.6 billion.

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