Fund investors retreat from U.S. stocks as S&P 500 hits records

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., June 19, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

July 3, 2019

By David Randall

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investors pulled slightly more than $5 billion out of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that hold U.S. stocks last week, ending what had been the largest rush into domestic stocks since 2016, according to data released Wednesday by the Investment Company Institute.

The retreat from the U.S. stock market came after investors had pushed $17.9 billion into funds that hold domestic stocks over the two previous weeks, and was the first move away from U.S. stocks since the $8.2 billion decline in net assets during the week that ended June 5.

Investors have pulled a total of $35.6 billion out of U.S. stock funds since the start of the year despite a rally that has pushed the S&P 500 up more than 19% to new record highs. The move has been fueled largely by expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates, making equities more attractive by lowering company and consumer borrowing costs.

Bond funds continued to rake in new assets despite the prospect of lower interest rates. Taxable and municipal debt funds brought in slightly more than $10.5 billion in new assets, continuing a streak in which the category has pulled in $213.4 billion since the beginning of the year.

World stocks, meanwhile, lost $3.4 billion in net outflows, leaving the category down nearly $13.1 billion for the year to date.

(Reporting by David Randall; Editing by David Gregorio)