Goldman Says ETF Sales in 2017 Will Beat 2015 and 2016 Combined

  • Firm sees a record $300 billion of ETF purchases this year
  • Rise predicted even as S&P looks to drop 4% in second half

Exchange-traded funds are hotter than Texas asphalt -- and the funds have foreign investors to thank for that, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

ETF purchases are on pace to hit a record $300 billion in 2017, topping the results from 2015 and 2016 combined, according to a research note from Goldman late Friday. The growth is being driven by foreign buyers, who’ve piled into the funds as stable markets during the first half encouraged them to seek out U.S. stocks, Goldman found.

“It is only the second time during the past eight quarters that foreign investors have been net buyers of U.S. stocks,” wrote the team, led by chief U.S. equity strategist David Kostin.

However, Goldman expects ETF demand to decrease slightly in the second half due to rising skepticism that the Trump administration’s agenda will benefit investors and that greater opportunities for larger returns will emerge in select markets overseas.

“We forecast a modest deceleration in ETF purchases during the second half of 2017 versus the first quarter given reduced potential for significant equity upside through year-end,” they wrote. “This is part of the reason the firm anticipates the S&P 500 Index will fall 4 percent between now and year-end.”

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