The month of March saw slightly more than $2 trillion worth of ETFs and ETNs change hands.  That equates to nearly $91 billion per day of what is called the Average Daily Value Traded (ADVT).  

Although we could divide that number by the quantity of ETFs to determine how much the average ETF traded, it would be misleading.  You see, there were 845 exchange traded products (758 ETFs and 87 ETNs) listed on US exchanges in March, but the distribution of trading activity among them was anything but average.

There is an elite group of ETFs that trade more than $1 billion dollars a day – the ETF Billion Dollar Club.  The 19 current members accounted for 76.4% of the $2 trillion that traded in March.  Another way of saying it – just 2.2% of the funds generated more than three quarters of the value traded. 

Compared to last month’s list, three new members joined the ETF Billion Dollar Club and one member left.  The three new members are Direxion Financial Bull 3x Shares (FAS), iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 (FXI), and HOLDRS Oil Services (OIH).  The one member that departed was United States Oil Fund (USO). 

With so few funds grabbing the lion’s share of the action, one should be concerned about the other end of the spectrum, and indeed, those are the funds on ETF Deathwatch.  That list includes many products with severe liquidity issues such as days with zero volume and/or outrageous bid/ask spreads. 

The table below lists the 19 current members of the ETF Billion Dollar Club, those with an ADVT in excess of $1 billion during the latest month (March, 2009).

ETF Billion Dollar Club – April 2009

RankTickerNameAvg Daily Value Traded (ADVT)
1SPYSPDR S&P 500 $30,334,013,440
2SDSProShares UltraShort S&P500 $5,219,943,936
3QQQQPowerShares QQQ$4,955,691,008
4SKFProShares UltraShort Financials $3,709,979,136
5IWMiShares Russell 2000 $3,163,704,320
6XLFSPDR Select Sector Financial $2,354,407,168
7EEMiShares MSCI Emerging Markets$2,018,306,176
8DIADIAMONDS Trust$1,978,724,352
9SSOProShares Ultra S&P500 $1,963,262,720
10GLDSPDR Gold Trust$1,910,392,320
11FAZDirexion Financial Bear 3x Shares$1,590,466,176
12XLESPDR Select Sector Energy $1,581,963,392
13FASDirexion Financial Bull 3x Shares$1,490,180,352
14SRSProShares UltraShort Real Estate $1,348,390,400
15EFAiShares MSCI EAFE $1,291,401,216
16QIDProShares UltraShort QQQ $1,233,106,944
17IYRiShares DJ US Real Estate $1,180,828,800
18FXIiShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25$1,082,665,984
19OIHHOLDRS Oil Services$1,037,550,208

Disclosure:  long some of the listed securities