Trading Nation

Billions of dollars bail on stocks and buy bonds

Money flows out of stock and into bonds

The trend this year is clear: Stocks are out, and bonds are in.

The 10 exchange-traded funds that have suffered the biggest outflows this year are all equity funds of some shape or form, according to data.

The biggest losers are WisdomTree's once-hot currency-hedged Japan and Europe products, with $2.7 billion and $2.3 billion worth of net outflows, respectively. Products tied to financial stocks (XLF), big Nasdaq names (QQQ), and biotech (FBT) also saw redemptions of more than $1 billion.

Ticker Fund Name Net Flows Year-to-Date
DXJWisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity-2,712.73
HEDJWisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity-2,316.57
IWFiShares Russell 1000 Growth-2,021.61
XLFFinancial Select SPDR-1,887.63
QQQPowerShares QQQ-1,869.56
FBTFirst Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology-1,766.29
EWJiShares MSCI Japan-1,573.30
FXHFirst Trust Health Care AlphaDEX-1,444.72
EZUiShares MSCI Eurozone-1,344.10
FDNFirst Trust Dow Jones Internet-1,302.76

Meanwhile, six of the 10 biggest recipients of inflows are bond products from across the spectrum, with everything from Treasurys to high-yield bonds attractive fresh cash.

Topping the list of creations is the SPDR Gold ETF (GLD), and rounding out the list are two Vanguard equity ETFs (VOO and VEA) that have managed to attract inflows.

Ticker Fund Name Net Flows Year-to-Date
GLDSPDR Gold4,962.25
AGGiShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond3,611.35
USMViShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility3,496.86
VOOVanguard S&P 5002,900.25
TLTiShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond2,460.52
JNKSPDR Barclays High Yield Bond2,449.48
VEAVanguard FTSE Developed Markets2,276.88
LQDiShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond2,068.71
TIPiShares TIPS Bond1,807.86
HYGiShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond1,655.30

More recently, the character of the flows have shifted a bit, as stocks have turned higher.

Since the start of March, the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) and iShares Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) have managed to drive $4.9 billion and $2.1 billion in net creations, respectively. Still, five of the 10 ETFs that have seen the largest net inflows have been bond funds, even in this more recent time period.

Based on Lipper data, "funds have been flowing into equities at a pretty meaningful rate, and it looks like there has been cash coming off of the sidelines" in the past few weeks, Piper Jaffray technical analyst Craig Johnson said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

Looking at the chart of the S&P 500, "there is no change in trend," so these flows into stocks are "probably going to continue," he said.

Indeed, with so many being left behind by the market's recent bounce, "the pain trade is up," meaning that a further rise in stocks will cause the sort of uncomfortable losses that lead fund managers to change around their positioning. In this case, that shift would mean covering shorts or going long.

"It's going to be even more painful when we break out to new highs," the bullish technical analyst added.