Retail Investors Exit US Stock Funds, Look Elsewhere, Lipper Says

Friday, 15 Feb 2013 09:32 AM

 

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Investors in U.S.-based funds gave $2.4 billion to stock mutual funds in the latest week, the
fifth consecutive week of inflows, but all the cash was placed into international equities, data from Thomson Reuters' Lipper service showed.

Mutual funds that hold international stocks attracted more than $3 billion in new cash in the week ended Feb. 13. Mutual funds that hold U.S. stocks, meanwhile, suffered their first
outflows over a weekly period this year of $617.5 million.

Stock funds pulled in large amounts of cash in the first five weeks of this year, supporting the S&P 500's year-to-date rise of 6.7 percent. Both stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds drew $40.3 billion in new money over that timeframe, fueling talk of a "great rotation" into stocks.

In the latest week, mutual funds that hold emerging market stocks found favor with $1.6 billion in new cash.

Investors pulled $1.8 billion out of stock exchange-traded funds after betting $2 billion on the funds the prior week. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Fund lost fans for the second straight
week as investors redeemed $2.3 billion from the fund.

Bond mutual funds attracted $2.9 billion in new cash over the week, exceeding the cash gains into stock mutual funds. Bond ETFs gained a modest $396.7 million in new money after redeeming over $1 billion to investors the prior week.

Both bond mutual funds and ETFs combined took in $3.3 billion over the week, up from $2.27 billion the previous week.

ETFs are generally believed to represent the investment behavior of institutional investors, while mutual funds are thought to represent the retail investor.

The benchmark S&P 500 rose just 0.5 percent over Lipper's weekly reporting period. Data showing that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed in December and strong international trade in China and Germany boosted sentiment.

Concerns over the euro zone debt crisis were rekindled, however, after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said  the region would face further economic weakness.

Investors showed less aversion toward high-yield "junk" bond funds in the latest week, and pulled just $165.5 million from the funds after redeeming a sizeable $1.38 billion from the
funds the prior week. 

Investment-grade corporate bonds still found favor as $1.34 billion flowed into funds that hold the securities. The bonds sport a higher-quality credit rating than their riskier
high-yield counterparts.

Money-market funds, which are low-risk vehicles that invest mainly in short-term securities, had outflows of $9.73 billion over the week. Those were the largest outflows since October
2012.

Flexible funds, which can invest in stocks and bonds of any origin, continued to win favor with inflows of $1.88 billion.

The weekly Lipper fund flow data is compiled from reports issued by U.S.-domiciled mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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