It's the end of a wild first quarter for stock and bond investors, and ETF flows are reflecting that turmoil. The $7 trillion ETF business has become a barometer for investor sentiment. The good news: Despite big market swings , equity and bond ETFs still saw overall inflows in the first quarter. The bad news: The inflows are far smaller than in recent years, as some investors were parking enormous amounts of cash in other investments like money market funds toward the end of March. ETFs still getting money, but at a slower pace As of March 24, ETFs have taken in a combined $70 billion in 2023, according to Nate Geraci at the ETF Store. ETF flows year to date: $70 billion inflows Consisting of: Equity: $24 billion inflows Fixed Income: $43 billion inflows Other (currency, etc.): $3 billion inflows Source: ETF Store While that is still inflow, it is far less than has been typical in recent years. At this time last year, for example, there was nearly $200 billion in inflows by this time. 2023 ended with north of $600 billion in inflows. Equity inflows in particular saw a dramatic split: There were $3 billion in outflows from U.S. equity funds, and $27 billion in inflows into international funds. One likely explanation, Geraci tells me, is that investors spooked by the dual drop in stocks and bonds in 2022 have become far more cautious. "On the equity side, I think the low flows reflects uncertainty in the marketplace, particularly fears of a recession on the horizon," he said. Much of that uncertainty can be seen in a notable pickup in money going into money market funds, traditionally a safe haven asset. Flows have increased this year, but particularly in March as the banking crisis has heated up. According to Refinitiv Lipper, investors poured $108 billion into money market mutual funds during the week ended March 15., its fifth-largest net inflows on record dating back to 1992. Q1 big winners: Treasurys and international My mother is ahead of the pack. I was joking about my mother on-air a month ago. She had called to tell me she was rolling over a 1-year bank CD and was astonished they were offering her north of 4%, after years of sub-1% returns. She was asking about investing directly in Treasurys. The bank tellers at her bank even offered to call when yields were going up. When my mother becomes a bond watcher, that's a yield top. That's like the shoeshine boy talking about the stock market. My mother was right. Treasury ETFs were the big winners in the first quarter, taking in $39 billion, about half of that in short-term Treasurys. "When you can pick up short-term Treasurys for 4 to 4 and a half percent yields with no risk, that is very attractive for many investors," Geraci said. He must have been talking to my mother. Treasury ETFs with significant Q1 inflows iShares 20+ Treasuries (TLT) iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond (IEF) iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF (SGOV) Schwab Short Term US Treasury ETF (SCHD) Source: ETF.com/Schwab Most other bond funds, but particularly corporate and high yield funds, saw outflows. Bond ETFs with Q1 outflows Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond (VCSH) SPDR Bloomberg High Yield Bond ETF (JNK) iShares iBoxx USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG) Source: ETF.com International equity funds also had big inflows of $27 billion. That's not a big surprise: International equities have outperformed since Q4 last year, and given concerns about U.S. recessions and a lower dollar, plenty of Wall Street strategists have been talking about putting more money into international for some time. "We also advise investors to diversify beyond US equities and growth stocks given the deteriorating outlook for earnings, high valuations, and risks arising from interest rate hikes," Mark Haefele, CIO for global wealth management at UBS, said in a recent note to clients. ESG losing steam? Among individual ETFs, it's not a high-yield or corporate bond fund that has the honor of having the highest quarter to date outflows. That honor is reserved for the iShares ESG Aware MSCI USA ETF which had nearly $6 billion in outflows. "ESG has significant issues," Geraci told me. "It' not just politics, it's performance. ESG in general has underperformed the market." Nate Geraci, president ETF Store, and D.J. Tierney, director and senior investment portfolio strategist for Schwab Asset Management, will be on ETF Edge this Monday at 1:10 PM to discuss first quarter investing trends. Join us at ETFedge.cnbc.com .