March 25, 2004 — The combined assets of the nation’s exchange-traded funds (ETFs) rose to $159.5 billion at the end of February, from $155.8 billion at the end of January, according to data released by the Investment Company Institute (ICI).

ETF assets totaled $151.0 billion at the end of December 2003.

At the end of February, 132 ETFs were in operation, the same as in the prior month. Of that total, 85 ETFs tracked domestic stock indexes and held assets of $136.2 billion; 41 ETFs tracked international/global equity indexes and held assets of $17.9 billion; and six bond index ETFs held assets of $5.4 billion.

The ICI noted that assets of domestic equity ETFs increased by $2.0 billion, and international equity ETF assets increased by $1.4 billion.

In addition, the value of all ETF shares issued exceeded that of shares redeemed by $2.0 billion. Equity index ETFs experienced a positive net issuance of $1.8 billion, while bond ETFs experienced a positive net issuance of $243 million. Gross issuance of all ETFs decreased in February to $9.0 billion from $11.8 billion in January, and redemptions decreased to $7.0 billion from $9.9 billion in January.

Net issuance, which is gross issuance minus redemptions, is roughly equivalent to the unit of net new cash flow that is used for conventional mutual funds.

Below is a list of the five largest ETFs:

ETF Assets as of 1/30/04 (In billions)

One-Year Returns Through 2/27/04

S&P Dep Receipts (SPY) $42.43 +38.2%

Nasdaq -100 Trust Ser 1 (QQQ) $23.89 +45.4%

iShares S&P 500 Index Trust (IVV) $8.27 +38.3%

DIAMONDS Trust, Series1 (DIA) $6.94 +36.9%

S&P MidCap Dep Receipts (MDY) $6.48 +49.3%

Source: Standard & Poor’s. Total returns are in U.S. dollars and include reinvested dividends.