Investors pulled $4 billion out of exchange-traded funds that invested in emerging markets last year, making them the least-popular form of ETFs in 2011.

The first half told most of the story, according to State Street Global Advisors. Investors pulled $3.7 billion out of emerging market funds in the first six months of the year and $326 million came out in the last half.

These are funds that invest in developing markets that can range from China, on the large size, to Chile or Vietnam, on the smaller side.

Also losing favor were small cap funds, which lost $3.5 billion, mid cap funds, which lost $2.2 billion, financials, which lost $1.5 billion and industrials, which lost $1.3 billion.

Also hit hard in the first half of the year was SSgA’s flagship ETF, the SPDR S&P500 Fund, known as SPY.

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Investors pulled $2.5 billion out of SPY in the first half. But rushed back in the second half, adding $8.1 billion. That gave it a net inflow of $5.7 billion.

“Due to the influence of SPY, large cap remained the largest category as measured by assets under management,’’ State Street said, in a year end report.

Donna Mitchell writes for Financial Planning.