ETF And Conventional Fund Investors Became More Risk Averse During The Fund-Flows Week

Fund investors generally took risk off their portfolios for the Refinitiv Lipper fund-flows week ended March 8, 2023, as they awaited the release of February’s nonfarm payrolls report due out at the end of the week and began dissecting news coming from Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell’s semi-annual testimony before Congress, a report of better-than-expected first-time jobless claims, and rising Treasury rates. The two-year Treasury yield closed above the 5% mark for the first time since June 18, 2007, on Tuesday, and the two- and 10-year Treasury yield spread widened to negative 103 bps—the deepest inversion since October 2, 1981 (according to Dow Jones Market Data).

In addition, by the end of the flows week, investors were already confronted with nascent liquidity concerns for Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) on Wednesday after SVB announced that it had taken extraordinary measures to shore up its balance sheets. The bank sold $21 billion of its most liquid investments, borrowed $15 billion, and organized an emergency sale of its stock to raise cash. We now know these measures were not successful and ended with the bank being shut down by California regulators and in receivership under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

For the fund-flows week, investors were net purchasers of fund assets (including those of conventional funds and ETFs) for the second week in a row, but they injected only a net $853 million for the flows week. Fund investors were net purchasers of taxable bond funds (+$3.9 billion) while being net redeemers of money market funds (-$2.0 billion), equity funds (-$735 million), and tax-exempt fixed income funds (-$308 million).

For the week, the primary attractor of investors’ assets in the taxable bond fund and ETF space was the government-Treasury funds macro-group, which took in a net $3.2 billion, followed by the corporate investment-grade debt funds (+$717 million) macro-group. From a classification perspective, Short U.S. Treasury Funds (+$2.4 billion) were the primary draw of net new money, followed by Core Bond Funds (+$1.1 billion), Core-Plus Bond Funds (+$760 million), and General U.S. Treasury Funds (+$576 million).

(Click on image to enlarge)

Not surprising, given the timing of the announcements, we saw most of the defensive moves realized in ETF offerings over the more long-term focus of conventional mutual funds. For the fund-flows week, conventional taxable bond funds witnessed $1.0 billion in net redemptions, while their ETF counterparts attracted $4.9 billion. On the conventional fund side, the government mortgage funds macro-group attracted the largest sum of net new money, taking in $214 million, followed by government-Treasury & mortgage funds (+$131 million). Meanwhile, balanced funds (-$410 million) and flexible funds (-$294 million) witnessed the largest net redemptions.

On the ETF side of the ledger, only government-mortgage ETFs (-$12 million) witnessed net redemptions, while government-Treasury ETFs (+$3.3 billion) attracted the largest net inflows, followed by corporate investment-grade debt funds (+$944 million) and international & global debt ETFs (+$175 million). This is a continuation of a trend we have reported on over the last two-plus months. For the year-to-date period ended March 8, 2023, government Treasury ETFs have attracted the largest sum of net new money, taking in $12.9 billion, followed closely by corporate investment-grade debt ETFs (+$11.3 billion) and a bit further out by international & global debt funds (+$3.0 billion).

Focusing on the ETF movers during the fund-flows week, SPDR Bloomberg 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL, +$723 million), iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT+$509 million), and iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF (IEF, +$494 million) attracted the largest amounts of net new money of all individual taxable fixed income ETFs. Meanwhile, Schwab Intermediate-Term US Treasury ETF (SCHR, -$469 million) and SPDR Bloomberg High Yield Bond ETF (JNK, -$254 million) handed back the largest individual net redemptions.

ETF investors were selectively a bit more aggressive on the equity side of the business than were their conventional fund cohorts, with equity ETFs attracting a net $3.2 billion for the fund-flows week, while conventional equity fund investors redeemed a net $3.9 billion. The large-cap conventional funds (-$2.9 billion) macro-group witnessed the largest net redemptions, bettered by global equity funds (-$444 million) and mid-cap funds (-$366 million). The conventional international equity funds macro-group took in the largest amount of net new money for the week.

More By This Author:

S&P 500 Earnings Dashboard 22Q4 - Friday, March 10
U.S. Weekly Fund-Flows Insight Report: Investors Embrace Both Fixed Income And Equity ETFs
TSX Earnings Scorecard 22Q4 - Thursday, March 9

Disclaimer: none

How did you like this article? Let us know so we can better customize your reading experience.


Leave a comment to automatically be entered into our contest to win a free Echo Show.