Rob Britenbach, CIPM
Research Analyst, U.S. Equities
This week’s chart looks at Morningstar fund flow data among the broad category groups of U.S. equity, international equity, taxable bond, and municipal bond. Since January 2018, U.S. equity funds saw cumulative net outflows totaling $123 billion, while international equities had positive cumulative inflows of $30 billion, taxable bonds had positive cumulative inflows of $97 billion, and municipal bonds had positive cumulative inflows of $32 billion. Negative fund flows within U.S. equities continue to persist in 2019 despite strong year-to-date gains.
The trend of U.S. equity outflows over the span of this bull market is nothing new but it is surprising to see fund outflows persist in the face of such a strong recovery off the December 2018 lows. As an example, the S&P 500 recently hit a record closing high of 2,945.83 on April 30th, surpassing the previous record closing high of 2,930.75 logged on September 20th, 2018. With the bull market turning ten years old on March 9th, a non-euphoric sentiment among investors may be a factor keeping this historically long bull market going.
What is driving this recent rally? In the past few months, investors have reacted to a significant reversal in monetary policy, better than expected first quarter earnings, a strong first quarter GDP, as well as continued increases in corporate stock buybacks. However, caution observed in fund flows may prove warranted with such items as a technical yield curve inversion, weakening profit margins, U.S.-China trade deal, Brexit, and upcoming 2020 elections weighing on investors’ minds.
The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.
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