Fund Flows, Refreshed

Takeaway: It was another week of decent fixed income subscriptions at the expense of equities with stock fund flow lackluster.

Editor's Note: This research note was originally sent to subscribers on May 29, 2014 by Hedgeye’s Financials analyst Jonathan Casteleyn. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @HedgeyeJC.  

 

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ICI Mutual Fund Data and ETF Money Flow

In the most recent 5 day period, the combination of taxable and tax-free bond funds had a decent week of production with $2.3 billion in inflow, slightly above the running year-to-date average of $2.1 billion. Conversely, equity funds mustered just a $678 million inflow, well below the year-to-date average of a $3.0 billion inflow. In our charts of weekly fund production herein, the 12 week linear charts depict the intermediate term trends of these fund flows displaying the more positive backdrop for fixed income versus the ongoing decline in interest in equities.

 

Total equity mutual fund flows put up only a slight inflow in the most recent 5 day period ending on May 21st with just $678 million coming into the all stock category as reported by the Investment Company Institute. The composition of the slight inflow was again made up of a moderate outflow of $1.8 billion within domestic stock funds which was offset by the $2.4 billion inflow into international products. Both equity categories ran below their respective 2014 weekly averages with the combined weekly mean for all equity products settling in at $3.0 billion inflow, now in-line with the $3.0 billion weekly average inflow from 2013. 

 

Conversely, fixed income mutual fund flows continued on much strong footing for the week ending May 21st, with a solid $2.3 billion flowing into all fixed income funds. While this production was a deceleration from the $3.9 billion that came into bond products the week prior, the inflow into taxable products was the 15th consecutive week of positive flow and the inflow into municipal or tax-free products was the 19th consecutive week of positive subscriptions. The 2014 weekly average for fixed income mutual funds now stands at a $2.1 billion weekly inflow, a vast improvement from 2013's weekly average outflow of $1.5 billion, but still a far cry from the $5.8 billion weekly average inflow from 2012 (our view of the blow off top in bond fund inflow). 

 

ETFs followed in suite with mutual fund flows during the week with weak production in the equity ETF category offset by a substantial inflow into bond exchange traded funds. Equity ETFs experienced a sizeable $7.0 billion outflow, while fixed income ETFs put up a $5.4 billion subscription. The 2014 weekly averages are now a $476 million weekly inflow for equity ETFs and a $1.2 billion weekly inflow for fixed income ETFs. 

 

The net of total equity mutual fund and ETF trends against total bond mutual fund and ETF flows totaled a negative $14.1 billion spread for the week ($6.3 billion of total equity outflow versus the $7.7 billion inflow within fixed income; positive numbers imply greater money flow to stocks; negative numbers imply greater money flow to bonds). The 52 week moving average has been $7.0 billion (more positive money flow to equities), with a 52 week high of $31.0 billion (more positive money flow to equities) and a 52 week low of -$37.5 billion (negative numbers imply more positive money flow to bonds for the week). 

 

Mutual fund flow data is collected weekly from the Investment Company Institute (ICI) and represents a survey of 95% of the investment management industry's mutual fund assets. Mutual fund data largely reflects the actions of retail investors. Exchange traded fund (ETF) information is extracted from Bloomberg and is matched to the same weekly reporting schedule as the ICI mutual fund data. According to industry leader Blackrock (BLK), U.S. ETF participation is 60% institutional investors and 40% retail investors.   

 

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Most Recent 12 Week Flow in Millions by Mutual Fund Product

 

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Most Recent 12 Week Flow Within Equity and Fixed Income Exchange Traded Funds

 

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Net Results

The net of total equity mutual fund and ETF trends against total bond mutual fund and ETF flows totaled a negative $14.1 billion spread for the week ($6.3 billion of total equity outflow versus the $7.7 billion inflow within fixed income; positive numbers imply greater money flow to stocks; negative numbers imply greater money flow to bonds). The 52 week moving average has been $7.0 billion (more positive money flow to equities), with a 52 week high of $31.0 billion (more positive money flow to equities) and a 52 week low of -$37.5 billion (negative numbers imply more positive money flow to bonds for the week). 

 

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