By Tom Roseen
Did we just see mutual fund investors turn on a dime? After yanking nearly $5 billion from their accounts the previous week, this past week's data show estimated net flows of $2.1 billion into equity mutual funds - for their first positive flows week this year. Although the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average was up for the week, the scant 392 points probably wasn't as important as a rising sentiment that 16,000 is as good a floor as any we'll find in this market. But count equity exchange-traded funds' (ETFs') authorized participants among the unconvinced: they withdrew about $8.5 billion (net), backing out of the SPDR S&P 500 Trust ETF (SPY, -$3.2 billion) and the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM, -$1.2 billion), but they made modest contributions to the SPDR Gold Trust ETF (GLD, +$758 million).
Taxable bond mutual funds suffered their thirteenth weekly net outflows (-$523 million), but the week's magnitude was the lightest yet. The Loan Participation Funds classification (-$333 million) notched its twenty-eighth consecutive week of outflows from mutual fund investors and High Yield Funds suffered outflows of $108 million as investors kept a wary eye on the junk sector. On the other hand, bond ETFs collected $671 million of inflows as the week's biggest individual bond ETF inflows belonged to the iShares 7-10 Treasury Bond ETF (IEF, +$412 million), while the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD, -$423 million) led the outflows list.
Municipal bond mutual fund investors added $585 million to their accounts while the muni market gained 0.48% for the week - after the previous week's little tumble. Money market funds saw outflows of $3.8 billion this past week, of which institutional investors pulled $4.2 billion and retail investors redeemed $400 million.