According to EPFR Global, investors have been on edge recently over the damage that Greece’s fiscal problems might do to bank balance sheets, Europe’s growth prospects, and the ability of riskier sovereign borrowers to tap credit markets.
Europe equity funds tracked by the research group posted their biggest weekly outflow in nearly a year during the week ending May 5, as commodity-sector funds had their best week on record. Meanwhile, emerging markets, global bond, U.S. and Japan funds continued to enjoy robust inflows, as did energy and technology funds.
EPFR Global-tracked bond funds posted collective net inflows of $3.8 billion in early May, while equity funds recorded outflows of $1.43 billion. In addition, money market funds experienced net outflows of over $18 billion.
As for fund performance, Lipper data through May 13 indicates that bull/ultra/long funds are at the top of the charts, along with Russia, real estate, and financial funds. The Fidelity Select Banking Fund, for instance, is up 28% percent this year.
Over the past four weeks, the bear/ultra/short funds have naturally done well.
Precious-metal funds tracked by Lipper are up 14.7% through May 13, while real-estate funds have ticked up 16.7% and financial-sector funds 13.5%.
In fixed income, the Lipper HI Current Yield category has improved 5.4% so far this year, while BBB rated bonds are up 4.5%.
Data tracked by Morningstar for April 2010 found that U.S. open-end mutual funds gathered nearly $41 billion in assets, bringing year-to-date inflows to $165.1 billion.
Meanwhile, money market funds continued to bleed assets, with investors pulling $118.8 billion from these funds during the month, Morningstar reports.
Total outflows for money markets have reached $443.0 billion in 2010, surpassing the outflows for all of calendar year 2009.
Year-to-date net inflows for ETFs reached $19.9 billion after $12.2 billion in inflows in April. Flows were positive for all ETF asset classes during the month.
Domestic-stock funds had inflows of $6.3 billion in April, the largest inflow for the asset class since May 2009. April was also the first month of positive flows into actively managed U.S. stock funds since May 2009.
While taxable-bond funds retained their dominant position with inflows of $22.1 billion in April, support waned for municipal-bond funds, which had a rather lackluster month with inflows of $989 million.
Target-date funds have continued to steadily gather assets year to date, with inflows of $20.5 billion through April. These funds represent a significant percentage of total flows at many fund shops, accounting for more than half of Fidelity’s total flows and almost 40% of T. Rowe Price’s over the past 12 months.
Real-estate funds, bolstered by strong returns over the trailing 12 months, have gathered $1.5 billion in assets this year through April, which is the category’s best start since 2007.
Vanguard gathered the most mutual fund assets in April of any fund family with $8.6 billion. Hotchkis and Wiley, Matthews Asia, and Osterweis also saw strong inflows in April.