The ETF market ended 2010 looking forward to an economic recovery, even though unemployment remained high at 9.8%. As 2011 began, those hopes dimmed, however, replaced with concerns over rising oil price and growing instability in the Middle East. ETF investors hesitated, uncertain whether to pull back or continue the rally.

By the end of January, there were 972 ETFs holding assets of just over $1 trillion, according to the most recent data available from State Street Global Advisors. Assets rose $8.8 billion in the month, just a 0.9% increase. Not surprisingly, two of the top categories were energy and precious metals.

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