As trading gets underway for March 2009, there are 843 exchange-traded products (756 ETFs, 87 ETNs) listed in the U.S. With so many choices there are bound to be many with severe liquidity issues. A surprising number have days with zero volume and outrageous bid/ask spreads – ETFs on Deathwatch. However, there is a small group of ETFs that rise above the crowd – ETFs that trade more than $1 billion per day – members of the ETF $Billion Club.

If liquidity is high on your list of priorities, then knowledge of the Average Daily Value Traded (ADVT) is essential. ADVT, which is volume multiplied by price (sometimes referred to as $ Volume), is a preferred method of gauging liquidity since price differences between ETFs can distort volume-only measurements. High liquidity means you don’t have to worry about whether someone will take the other side of your trade.

The table below lists the 17 current members of the ETF $Billion Club, those with an ADVT in excess of $1 billion during the latest month (February, 2009).

The ETF $Billion Club – March 2009


Rank Ticker Name Avg Daily Value Traded (ADVT)
1 SPY SPDR S&P; 500 $30,767,683,584
2 QQQQ PowerShares QQQ $5,251,502,080
3 SKF ProShares UltraShort Financials $4,627,046,400
4 SDS ProShares UltraShort S&P500; $4,580,779,008
5 IWM iShares Russell 2000 $3,093,236,480
6 DIA DIAMONDS Trust $2,625,997,824
7 GLD SPDR Gold Trust $2,470,299,648
8 XLF SPDR Select Sector Financial $2,082,540,544
9 SSO ProShares Ultra S&P500; $1,905,811,200
10 XLE SPDR Select Sector Energy $1,795,240,832
11 EEM iShares MSCI Emerging Markets $1,746,615,296
12 SRS ProShares UltraShort Real Estate $1,577,850,496
13 QID ProShares UltraShort QQQ $1,458,607,744
14 IYR iShares DJ US Real Estate $1,244,349,184
15 EFA iShares MSCI EAFE $1,222,589,568
16 FAZ Direxion Financial Bear 3x Shares $1,221,666,944
17 USO United States Oil Fund $1,034,414,528


Disclosure:  long GLD