When it comes to ETFs, is their Market Cap the exact (or as exact as possible) sum of its holdings or does it somehow have its own intrinsic value that can be different than the sum of its holdings?

In other words, if a Market Cap of an ETF is $10B and its top holding is exactly 10% of its portfolio, does the fund actually hold $1B worth of that stock, $500M of a stock that represents 5% of the holdings, and so on up to the nearly exact sum of its Market Cap?

When a trading day is finished, is the value of an ETF changed exactly as much as the value of the sum of its holdings, or can it be decoupled from those holdings and change price as if it was itself an actual equity?

If its market cap is not the sum of its holdings, what exactly is the intrinsic value, or added value, of a fund which just holds other equities? Are there any laws or SEC rules in place to ensure that it actually owns some minimum percentage of its underlying holdings and if so what exactly is that minimum?


1 Answer 1


Is ETF Market Cap Sum of Its Holdings?

There can be some mismatch, which opens the doors to ETF Arbitrage (mirror). E.g., from the same link:

The arbitrage opportunity happens when demand for the ETF increases or decreases the market price, or when liquidity concerns cause investors to redeem or demand the creation of additional ETF shares. At these times, price fluctuations between the ETF and its underlying assets cause mispricings.


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