Investors stage largest two-week retreat from U.S. stocks since July

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investors pulled nearly net $7.5 billion out of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that hold U.S. stocks last week, capping the largest two-week retreat from the domestic stock market since July 2018, according to data released on Wednesday by the Investment Company Institute.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) near the close of market in New York, U.S., October 31, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The move away from the U.S. stock market came as the benchmark S&P 500 index finished its strongest first quarter of the year since 1998, according to Refinitiv data. For the year to date, the S&P 500 is up nearly 15.5% thanks to a combination of optimism for a trade breakthrough between the United States and China and the Federal Reserve’s decision to pause its series of interest rate hikes.

Despite that rally, investors have pulled a net of approximately $17.6 billion in assets out of U.S. stock funds over the 13 full weeks of this year, according to ICI data.

World stock funds, meanwhile, lost a net $31 million in assets, continuing a seven-week pullback on the part of investors. For the year to date, world stock funds have garnered approximately $4.2 billion in net inflows.

Bond funds brought in about net $11.3 billion last week, continuing a streak of positive inflows that has lasted over each full week of the year.

The following table shows estimated ICI flows for mutual funds and ETFs (all figures in millions of dollars):

  4/3/19 3/27/19 3/20/19 3/13/19 3/6/19


Equity -7,496 -11,085 -2,145 12,310 -3,742

Domestic -7,465 -10,896 1,474 12,827 -2,644

World -31 -190 -3,619 -517 -1,099

Hybrid -3,575 -199 -636 -1,420 -1,267

Bond 11,275 7,884 10,544 11,322 6,050

Taxable 9,783 5,528 8,655 8,807 3,987

Munis 1,492 2,356 1,889 2,515 2,064

Commodity -983 141 393 207 -1,152

Total -778 -3,259 8,155 22,419 -111

Reporting by David Randall; Editing by Jennifer Ablan and Cynthia Osterman

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