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


Rank Ticker Name Avg Daily Value Traded (ADVT)
1 SPY SPDR S&P; 500 $30,334,013,440
2 SDS ProShares UltraShort S&P500; $5,219,943,936
3 QQQQ PowerShares QQQ $4,955,691,008
4 SKF ProShares UltraShort Financials $3,709,979,136
5 IWM iShares Russell 2000 $3,163,704,320
6 XLF SPDR Select Sector Financial $2,354,407,168
7 EEM iShares MSCI Emerging Markets $2,018,306,176
8 DIA DIAMONDS Trust $1,978,724,352
9 SSO ProShares Ultra S&P500; $1,963,262,720
10 GLD SPDR Gold Trust $1,910,392,320
11 FAZ Direxion Financial Bear 3x Shares $1,590,466,176
12 XLE SPDR Select Sector Energy $1,581,963,392
13 FAS Direxion Financial Bull 3x Shares $1,490,180,352
14 SRS ProShares UltraShort Real Estate $1,348,390,400
15 EFA iShares MSCI EAFE $1,291,401,216
16 QID ProShares UltraShort QQQ $1,233,106,944
17 IYR iShares DJ US Real Estate $1,180,828,800
18 FXI iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 $1,082,665,984
19 OIH HOLDRS Oil Services $1,037,550,208


Disclosure:  long some of the listed securities