Yesterday the Investment Company Institute updated weekly fund flow numbers for the US mutual fund and ETF industry. As shown in the chart below, total mutual fund flows were positive this year but compared to the performance of ETFs, the inflows have been only modest at best. ETFs have logged more than $700bn in inflows, and while mutual funds avoided a fourth straight net outflow, their $66bn in inflows wasn’t that impressive. Across mutual funds and ETFs, bonds have been the massive winner this year, with more than $500bn in inflows. Equity funds record outflows over time as a mechanical result of equity retirements, but this year inflows have been the largest since 2014 with more than $210bn in buying across mutual funds and ETFs. About a quarter of total equity fund inflows so far this year have been dedicated to funds buying the domestic stock market. That’s the best year for domestic equity fund flows since 2014, and breaks a string of five consecutive years of outflows, though net flows have been stable for months now.
This analysis was first published last night in The Closer, Bespoke’s end-of-day macro note. To receive The Closer and all of Bespoke’s other reports covering sentiment and positioning, sign up for a two-week trial today if you’re not yet a member.