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Largest financial ETF saw massive outflows in December 2018

Investors stampeded out of the largest U.S. financial exchange-traded fund in December 2018.

SSgA Funds Management Inc.'s Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF) had $3.23 billion in net client outflows last month, $1.19 billion more than any other U.S. ETF.

"Investors increasingly had recessionary fears and pulled money out of economically sensitive areas of the stock market," Todd Rosenbluth, director of ETF and mutual fund research at CFRA, said in an email.

For full year 2018, XLF's net client outflows were $5.36 billion, the fifth highest across the ETF space. XLF ended the year with $22.64 billion of assets under management.

Each of the top 20 holdings of XLF experienced a negative price change in December. Citigroup Inc. was the bottom market performer, with its stock sliding 19.6%. The shares of CME Group Inc. and Chubb Ltd. held up the best, down just 1.0% and 3.4%, respectively.

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