A quick glance of the most popular exchange-traded funds among Robinhood users doesn't reveal much in the way of surprises. iShares, Vanguard and State Street (SPDR), the three largest domestic ETF issuers, combine for 81.6% of ETF assets held on the popular trading platform. That's roughly in line with the approximately 85% of all U.S. ETF assets those issuers control.
Dig Deeper: However, a closer examination reveals that as is the case with individual equities, Robinhood users have a taste for the risky when it comes to ETFs.
According to Bloomberg data posted by senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas, Direxion, one of the largest issuers of geared ETFs, is a force on Robinhood. As a percentage of Robinhood market share by ETFs held by clients, Direxion's 15.3% is second to only Vanguard at 17.8%, according to Balchunas.
To be fair, the data don't say all the Direxion funds owned by Robinhood users are leveraged and the issuer has a burgeoning lineup of non-leveraged fare, including the Direxion Work From Home ETF WFH and the Direxion Flight to Safety ETF FLYT.
However, the data do indicate Robinhood clients hold 79 Direxion ETFs, meaning they certainly do own some double- and triple-leveraged fare. In fact, the Direxion Daily S&P Oil & Gas Exp. & Prod. Bull 2X Shares GUSH and the Direxion Daily Junior Gold Miners Index Bull 2X Shares JNUG are beloved by the Robinhood crowd.
Here's a look at the ETF issuers ranked by Robinhood accounts holding their ETFs vs their mkt share. Direxion (3x maker) is insane, they make up 0.4% of ETF mkt share but 15% of RH usage share. Vgrd, Blk, Schwab gen punching below weight on here for obv reasons. pic.twitter.com/49lQgMrcZr— Eric Balchunas (@EricBalchunas) August 12, 2020
But Wait, There's More: At 15.3%, Direxion's percentage of funds held by Robinhood users is higher than SPDR's at 12.9%. That's not the only fun fact. At 10.5% based on the same metric, ProShares, the largest issuer of leveraged ETFs, is ahead of iShares at 8.4%.
The ProShares/Robinhood experience is similar to that of Direxion on the platform. Yes, ProShares has an expansive lineup of non-geared offerings, including the ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF NOBL, but with Robinhood clients spread out across 126 ProShares ETFs, there's definitely some double- and triple-leveraged funds in that mix.
For example, the ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil UCO is the third-most held ETF on Robinhood.
Tempting Fate: Confirming that the Robinhood crowd loves to roll the dice and take some fliers, United States Commodities Funds ranks seventh on the aforementioned list.
Twelve of that issuer's ETFs are used by Robinhood clients and the risky and often disappointing United States Oil Fund USO leads that "dirty dozen" and it's the second-most held ETF on the platform after the aforementioned GUSH.
All USO has done this year is lose more than 70%.
By number of ETFs held by Robinhood investors, iShares leads the way at 354 followed by Invesco at 199.
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