US stock funds suffered their largest redemptions since the aftermath of the UK’s Brexit vote in a period that culminated with the US central bank leaving policy unchanged.
The redemptions in the week to September 21, which data provider EPFR calculated as the biggest in 12 weeks, capped a choppy period for markets as investors awaited decisions from the Bank of Japan and Federal Reserve, propelling many investors to the sidelines.
A cautious Fed ultimately decided to leave rates unchanged despite several dissensions and paved the way for a December rate rise — a full year after it began to normalise policy last year. The BoJ by contrast unleashed new policies to cap yields on 10-year bonds and promised to surpass its 2 per cent inflation target in an attempt to stimulate growth.
The benchmark S&P 500 and FTSE All World Index have climbed roughly 1.5 per cent since the Fed released its policy decision on Wednesday, while yields on 10-year Treasuries slid. Yields on bonds decline as prices rise.
The decision, which landed hours before the weekly fund flow figures were calculated, showed some renewed appetite for risk after chair Janet Yellen delivered the Fed’s decision. Daily fund flow data, which does not capture as complete a view of investor moves as the weekly figures, showed inflows to emerging market equity and bond funds, as well as riskier high-yield bond portfolios on September 21.
Emerging market debt and equities, as well as US corporate debt, have been among the prime beneficiaries of stimulative global monetary policies, particularly bond-buying programmes under way by the European Central Bank and BoJ.
“While the [Fed] is increasingly concerned about the need to restore policy to a more normal stance, it is struggling to understand what the neutral interest rate is or should be,” said Robert Eisenbeis, the vice-chairman of Cumberland Advisors.
Global equity funds recorded redemptions of $6bn while global bond funds added $3.8bn in the week to Wednesday, the EPFR data show. Outflows from German, Spanish and French equity funds continued.
Money market funds, safe haven accounts often considered a proxy for cash, were flushed with more than $15bn of new cash from investors.
Separate data tracked by Lipper show high-quality corporate bond funds attracted $2.1bn in the past week, the 12th consecutive week of fresh capital, while funds invested in US Treasuries added $1bn, its biggest one-week haul since February.
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