Lipper Fund Flows: Uncertainty Keeps Investors on Sidelines
Despite the fact that US stocks ended higher in August, uncertainty caused investors to pull money out of funds as September kicks off.
Ahead of this week’s crucial Federal Reserve policy meeting, and in light of recent disappointing economic data, investors opted to pull money out of both mutual funds and exchange-traded funds during the week ended September 5. Those net redemptions totaled $5.2 billion, according to data from Lipper, a division of Thomson Reuters.
Unsurprisingly, those outflows were concentrated in equity funds, which saw investors withdraw some $6.8 billion in assets. In contrast, risk averse investors found the relative safety of fixed income products to be appealing. Money markets attracted $700 million of inflows, taxable bond funds reported net inflows of $400 million and municipal bond fund attracted another $300 million. Investors’ reluctance to put their money into equities, given the level of volatility in global markets and the lingering uncertainty surrounding Europe’s fiscal crisis and the direction of monetary policy in the United States, spread to the exchange-traded fund universe as well.
The aversion to equities affected both mutual funds and ETFs. For the first time in the last three weeks, equity ETFs experienced net redemptions, with investors pulling out some $5.9 billion. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF was responsible for the bulk of these outflows, or about $6 billion. Equity mutual funds (excluding ETFs) saw net redemptions for the fourth week in a row, totaling $900 million in the week ended September 5, although non-US equity mutual funds did attract a bit less than $99 million of inflows.
When it comes to fixed income investing, fund investors also displayed renewed risk aversion. Corporate high yield debt funds attracted inflows of only $60 million, for instance. But the quest for yield remains a big motivator, and helped generated inflows of $738 million for corporate investment-grade debt funds.