May 23, 2018 / 5:26 PM / 7 months ago

U.S. investors charge back into stock ETFs during latest week -ICI

    By Trevor Hunnicutt
    NEW YORK, May 23 (Reuters) - Investors raced into U.S. stock
exchange-traded funds during the latest week, restoring at least
briefly a key pillar of support for markets, data from the
Investment Company Institute showed on Wednesday.
    U.S.-based equity ETFs collected $11.2 billion during the
week through May 16, according to the ICI trade group, the most
since mid-March's high-water mark for the year in terms of
demand.
    The week included gains in small-capitalization U.S. stocks
- seen as more sheltered than large companies from global
concerns, including the U.S.-China trade conflict - and a rally
in healthcare stocks following a speech on drug prices by U.S.
President Donald Trump that was less aggressive than some
investors feared.
    Along with share-buying by companies themselves, strong
demand for ETFs has been a primary support for U.S. equities in
their near-decade gallop higher, Goldman Sachs Group Inc
research shows.
    This year, however, that demand has waned. The average U.S.
equity ETF inflow this year is just over $3 billion per week,
down from $6.7 billion per week throughout 2017, based on the
ICI data.
    "The last few months we've seen a slowdown in the ETF
growth. But let's be clear, I think year-to-date we're over $50
billion in net inflows, so it is still at a very fast pace,"
BlackRock Inc Chief Executive Larry Fink said at the
company's annual shareholders' meeting on Wednesday. BlackRock
manages the largest ETF lineup, both by assets and number of
funds.
    Fink added that some investors are using the funds to access
bonds and regions beyond the United States.
    Equity mutual funds recorded withdrawals of $2.8 billion
during the week, according to the ICI.
    Including both mutual funds and ETFs, total stock fund sales
were $8.4 billion, while bond funds took in $5.2 billion, the
trade group said.
    The following table shows estimated ICI flows for mutual
funds and ETFs (all figures in million of dollars):
                 5/16    5/9     5/2    4/25  4/18/2018
 Equity         8,394  2,040  -2,457    -879       -251
    Domestic    6,066  1,302  -2,992  -3,777     -2,377
    World       2,329    738     535   2,898      2,126
 Hybrid          -866   -788    -887    -633     -1,090
 Bond           5,177  2,735   3,472   2,264      8,492
    Taxable     4,727  2,383   3,635   2,360      9,321
    Municipal     450    352    -163     -96       -830
 Commodity       -281    242     -82     508        167
 Total         12,425  4,229      45   1,259      7,317
 
 (Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Dan Grebler)
  
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