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Takeaway: With the taxable bond category in a rare redemption cycle, investors are flocking to Treasuries in a flight to safety.

While the ICI taxable bond category is broad including investment grade corporates, high yield, government, and global bond issues, the across cycle pattern is clear. When rare redemptions in the category occur, a resulting decline in 10 year Treasury yields ensue as investors are likely rotating within the group, out of corporate and global bonds and into U.S. government securities. Only during the Taper Tatrum of 2013, did ICI taxable bonds redemptions (the white line below on a 5 week moving average), not result in lower 10 year Treasury yields (represented by the green line below). This week, taxable bond funds gave up another -$729 million, the 14th consecutive week of outflow.

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - Treasury Yields to Taxable flows

Investment Company Institute Mutual Fund Data and ETF Money Flow:

In the 5-day period ending February 10th, volatility picked up, equity markets tumbled, and investors backtracked on their contributions to domestic equities. U.S. stock funds lost -$3.6 billion in withdrawals, negating the prior week's inflows and bringing demand for total equity mutual funds and ETFs to a negative -$1.2 billion on the week. In fixed income, investors continued to favor municipal bonds and ETFs over taxable bonds. Munis brought in +$1.4 billion in contributions with fixed income ETFs gaining +$932 million, while taxable bonds lost another -$729 million. Finally, investors shored up +$3 billion of cash in money funds.

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI1

 

In the 5-day period ending February 10th, total equity mutual funds put up net outflows of -$1.4 billion, trailing the year-to-date weekly average outflow of -$993 million but outpacing the 2015 average outflow of -$1.5 billion. The outflow was composed of international stock fund contributions of +$2.3 billion and domestic stock fund withdrawals of -$3.6 billion. International equity funds have had positive flows in 41 of the last 52 weeks while domestic equity funds have had only 6 weeks of positive flows over the same time period.

 

Fixed income mutual funds put up net inflows of +$690 million, outpacing the year-to-date weekly average outflow of -$1.2 billion and the 2015 average outflow of -$475 million. The inflow was composed of tax-free or municipal bond funds contributions of +$1.4 billion and taxable bond funds withdrawals of -$729 million.

 

Equity ETFs had net subscriptions of +$158 million, outpacing the year-to-date weekly average outflow of -$4.6 billion but trailing the 2015 average inflow of +$2.8 billion. Fixed income ETFs had net inflows of +$932 million, trailing the year-to-date weekly average inflow of +$2.3 billion and the 2015 average inflow of +$1.0 billion.

 

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.



Most Recent 12 Week Flow in Millions by Mutual Fund Product: Chart data is the most recent 12 weeks from the ICI mutual fund survey and includes the weekly average for 2015 and the weekly year-to-date average for 2016:

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI2

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI3

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI4

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI5

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI6



Cumulative Annual Flow in Millions by Mutual Fund Product: Chart data is the cumulative fund flow from the ICI mutual fund survey for each year starting with 2008.

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI12

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI13

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI14

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI15

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI16



Most Recent 12 Week Flow within Equity and Fixed Income Exchange Traded Funds: Chart data is the most recent 12 weeks from Bloomberg's ETF database (matched to the Wednesday to Wednesday reporting format of the ICI), the weekly average for 2015, and the weekly year-to-date average for 2016. In the third table are the results of the weekly flows into and out of the major market and sector SPDRs:

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI7 2

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI8



Sector and Asset Class Weekly ETF and Year-to-Date Results: In sector SPDR callouts, investors seeking safety poured +$588 million or +7% into the long duration Treasury TLT ETF. Year to date, the TLT has experienced a +37% inflow or +$2.6 billion. Of the flows in the table below, that is the largest percentage inflow by far.

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI9



Cumulative Annual Flow in Millions within Equity and Fixed Income Exchange Traded Funds: Chart data is the cumulative fund flow from Bloomberg's ETF database for each year starting with 2013.

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI17

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI18



Net Results:

The net of total equity mutual fund and ETF flows against total bond mutual fund and ETF flows totaled a negative -$2.8 billion spread for the week (-$1.2 billion of total equity outflow net of the +$1.6 billion inflow to fixed income; positive numbers imply greater money flow to stocks; negative numbers imply greater money flow to bonds). The 52-week moving average is +$641 million (more positive money flow to equities) with a 52-week high of +$20.5 billion (more positive money flow to equities) and a 52-week low of -$19.0 billion (negative numbers imply more positive money flow to bonds for the week.)

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI10 2

 


Exposures:
The weekly data herein is important for the public asset managers with trends in mutual funds and ETFs impacting the companies with the following estimated revenue impact:

 

ICI Fund Flow Survey | Taxable Drawdowns = Treasury Takedowns - ICI11 



Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT 

 

 

 

Joshua Steiner, CFA