There’s two new entrants to the most-bought list, while buoyant stock markets increased demand for core trackers.
Exchange-traded fund (ETF) investors upped their exposure to gold, global shares and cash in April, as stock markets enjoyed a positive month.
The biggest mover was the iShares Physical Gold ETC, rising from sixth to second place, despite the gold price being flat in dollar terms in April.
Nevertheless, gold is flirting with an all-time high and trades near $2,000 an ounce. It has been boosted by expectations that interest rates are close to their peak. Gold does not pay an income, meaning that rising bond yields hurt its valuation.
US trackers were also very popular in April. The top spot was held by the Vanguard S&P 500 Ucits ETF (distributing), with Vanguard S&P 500 Ucits ETF (accumulating) in sixth place and the iShares Core S&P 500 Ucits ETF in ninth place.
Global and US tracker funds are cheap and liquid ways for investors to own the largest stocks in the world. Around two-thirds of the global index is made up of US shares, so there is lots of overlap in holdings and performance, with the top stocks in each index being America’s top tech stocks, namely Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet.
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UK shares also remained popular in April, but fell down the rankings. The iShares Core FTSE 100 Ucits ETF moved down four places to fifth, while the Vanguard FTSE 100 Ucits ETF (distributing) fell seven places to 10th.
UK shares rose about 3% in value in April, while US shares rose about 1%, as investors bet that inflation would keep falling and central banks would soon stop rate rises.
A new entry in April is the Lyxor Smart Overnight Return Ucits ETF. This fund aims to give investors cash-like returns via capital growth instead of income. It was the seventh most-popular ETF in April due to demand for a safe place to park cash with modest growth. The ETF has returned nearly 4% in the past 12 months, driven by rising bond yields.
Top 10 most-popular ETFs in April 2023
|ETF||Change from March||One-year performance to 1 May 2023 (%)||Three-year performance to 1 May 2023 (%)|
|Vanguard S&P 500 Ucits ETF (distributing)||Up one||2.2||52.9|
|iShares Physical Gold ETC||Up four||3.5||16.8|
|Vanguard FTSE All-World Ucits ETF||Up one||2||43.5|
|iShares Core MSCI World Ucits ETF||Up one||3.1||48.2|
|iShares Core FTSE 100 Ucits ETF||Down four||8.1||51.6|
|Vanguard S&P 500 Ucits ETF (accumulating)||Down four||2.2||52.9|
|Vanguard FTSE All-World High Dividend Yield||Up one||2.6||47.8|
|Lyxor Smart Overnight Return Ucits ETF||New entry||3.2||4.4|
|iShares Core S&P 500 Ucits ETF||New entry||2.3||52.9|
|Vanguard FTSE 100 Ucits ETF (distributing)||Down seven||8||51.6|
Source: FE FundInfo/interactive investor, 1 May 2023. Note: the top 10 is based on the number of “buys” during the month of April.
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