By Tom Roseen
As one might expect, given the meltdown in the global markets, fund investors were net redeemers of fund assets (including those of conventional funds and exchange-traded funds [ETFs]); however, they redeemed only a net $5.5 billion for the fund-flows week ended August 26, 2015. Investors redeemed some $17.8 billion from equity funds, $2.6 billion from taxable bond funds, and $345 million from municipal bond funds, but they were net purchasers of money market funds, injecting $15.2 billion for the week.
During the fund-flows week world markets were whipsawed by concerns of slowing global growth, the devaluation of the Chinese yuan, fears about China's slowing economy, and the continuing plunge of commodity prices. Oil prices slid below $40/barrel for the first time since February 2009 as a result of a decline in global demand and a glut in oil supply. An early measure of China's factory activity declined to a six-and-half-year low in August, putting additional pressure on the market.
The U.S. broad-based indices were down at least 10% from their recent market highs, entering what many define as a market correction. At one point on Monday the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined more than 1,000 points before bouncing back slightly, but it still closed down 588.47 points (3.6%) for the day (its largest one-day percentage decline since August 2011). Despite the People's Bank of China's cutting its benchmark interest rate 0.5 percentage point on Tuesday and injecting 150 billion yuan into the financial system to prop up China's market, the Shanghai composite lost 22.85% during the flows week.
Nonetheless, on Wednesday U.S. stocks broke a six-day losing streak and witnessed their largest one-day gain in nearly four years as investors pushed stocks higher on news of the PBOC's new easing efforts, better-than-expected economic news, and comments by New York Fed President William Dudley that the case for a rate hike in September is less compelling, given the volatility in global markets.
For the first week in three equity ETFs witnessed net outflows, handing back $15.2 billion (their largest amount since the week ended August 6, 2014). With concerns about a slowing global economy, authorized participants (APs) were net redeemers of domestic equity funds (-$10.4 billion), withdrawing money from the group for a sixth consecutive week. They also redeemed money from nondomestic equity funds (-$4.9 billion) for the first week in four.
Interestingly, for the second consecutive week APs were net purchasers of taxable fixed income ETFs, injecting $2.1 billion for the week. The lion's share of the money went into government-Treasury ETFs (+$2.0 billion) and flexible portfolio ETFs (+$1.0 billion), while corporate high yield ETFs (-$0.7 billion) and international & global debt ETFs (-$0.4 billion) witnessed the largest net outflows in the taxable fixed income ETF universe.